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About the book
  • Published: 18 September 2012
  • ISBN: 9780099561590
  • Imprint: Vintage Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 736
  • RRP: $24.99

Up in the Old Hotel

Mitchell is the laureate of old New York. This is the complete collection of his magical essays.

The hidden corners of New York and the people who lived there, in the cracks and margins and on the byways and waterways are Joseph Mitchell's subject. Mitchell bottled and preserved more of the soul of New York than anyone before or since. He captured the waterfront rooming-houses , nickel-a-drink saloons, all-night restaurants, street-preachers, fishermen and cops, petty criminals, the maritime life of the city and the eccentrics, bums and bohemians of the Village.

Up in the Old Hotel is a collection of pieces written between 1940s-1960s. Mitchell was a reporter who was also a stylist and these beautiful, moving, exhilarating profiles read more like fiction. This is required reading for anyone who wants to hear the lost voices of the city.

  • Pub date: 18 September 2012
  • ISBN: 9780099561590
  • Imprint: Vintage Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 736
  • RRP: $24.99

About the Author

Joseph Mitchell

Joseph Mitchell was born near Iona, North Carolina, in 1908, and came to New York City in 1929, when he was twenty-one years old. He eventually found a job as an apprentice crime reporter for The World. He also worked as a reporter and features writer at The Herald Tribune and The World-Telegram before landing at The New Yorker in 1938. "Joe Gould's Secret," which appeared on September 26th 1964, was the last piece Mitchell ever published. He went into work at The New Yorker almost every day for the next thirty-one years and six months but submitted no further writing.

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Praise for Up in the Old Hotel

“This is a book about New York as it was a long time ago… Mitchell is interested in the texture of the city. He loves the cops and bums and old Italian restaurants. After a while you really feel engrained in the place yourself”

William Leith, Evening Standard

“Swift, razor-sharp characterisation, narrative suspense and the sparest, yet most penetrating description”

Evening Standard

“One of the greatest journalists America has produced”

Times Literary Supplement

“What James Joyce might have written had he gone into journalism”


“A poet of the waterfront and a writer of surpassing tales that captured the unsung and unconventional life of New York and its denizens”


“If Borges had been a New Yorker he might have come up with something like Joe Gould's Secret”

Martin Amis


John Fowles

“An original... Civilised, intelligent, kind, humorous”

Doris Lessing

“[Mitchell’s] portrait of old New York is unmatchable”

Big Issue

“It is a teeming confection of the kind of people you wish to meet in a city, but would never quite have the guts to spend time with”

Stuart Ever's blog

“Comparing a journalist's oeuvre with the titanic Ulysses may appear presumptuous, but Mitchell shared Joyce's obsessive interest in the odd corners and overlooked eccentrics of urban life… Mitchell produced pure gold… his book has some of the finest feature writing published”

Christopher Hirst, Independent

“A work of consummate artistry”

Jake Kerridge, Sunday Telegraph

“Mitchell is a superb writer and this collection is a treasure”


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