There was a time when New York was everything to me: my mother, my mistress, my Mecca, when I could no more have wanted to live any place else than I could have conceived of myself as a daddy, disciplining my boy and dandling my daughter.
So begins "Nights in the Gardens of Brooklyn", which gives its title to Harvey Swados's collected stories. In this beautiful and heartbreaking novella, Swados describes a generation "aflame with romance and disillusion," in search of pleasures and answers, and shows how the demands of love and life temper its hopes and fears. It is a perennial story, told by Swados in straightforward and lyrical prose and with tremendous sympathy, and without doubt one of the most enduring achievements of postwar American fiction.
Harvey Swados's many splendid stories speak of work, friendship, and family. They are about the common world, as well as the final loneliness from which the common world cannot protect us. And yet Swados, as Richard Gilman has written, was above all concerned with "the breakthrough into true feeling, the attainment of moral dignity, and the linking up with others through compassion."