First off, I loved Thisbe Nissen’s first effort, a collection of short stories entitled “Out of the Girls Room And Into The Night“. Go buy it. Now. But I’m disappointed to announce that her début novel “The Good People Of New York” just didn’t do it for me. It just fell flat. Glossing over he fact that at least two chapters of this novel were taken nearly straight from her collection of short stories, the story just didn’t seem to work. Thisbe Nissen seems to be long on incident and short on plot so I would suggest sticking to her short stories. Thisbe’s writing remained strong and there are moments of true brilliance, and more rarely, heart felt emotion. But the books downsides outweighed the upsides in my opinion. The pacing seemed strange, granted it’s difficult to encapsulate 20 plus years in less than 300 pages, but the speed was jerky; it slowed and accelerated awkwardly.
For a book that is about relationships, in “The Good People Of New York” Nissen did little to develop the relationship between the main characters Roz and her daughter Miranda. And to further muddle things, several characters created brief emotional relationships with each of the main characters but none of these interactions or affairs were built upon with conviction. Individuals simply breezed in and of the novel making impacts whose craters Thisbe neglected to explore.
The novel, however, was enjoyable and worth my time. I didn’t hate it but I surely didn’t love it. There were sections were Thisbe really shined (see below). I’d recommend this book to those interested in reading about mother/daughter relationships but I definitely won’t be reading it again.