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'In the Land of Men': Memoir of a magazine editor

"In the Land of Men" is Adrienne Miller's

"In the Land of Men" is Adrienne Miller's memoir about working in the magazine business. Credit: TNS/HarperCollins

IN THE LAND OF MEN by Adrienne Miller (Ecco, 352 pp., $28.99)

Former Esquire literary editor Adrienne Miller looks back on a pre-Sept. 11 New York, "the dying days of the golden age of print" and her romance with the late writer David Foster Wallace in her name-dropping memoir "In the Land of Men."
"This is my story, not his," she proclaims, detailing her Ohio childhood and offering a surfeit of pronouncements such as "There is wisdom beyond knowledge." She got into the magazine world through the friend of a friend of a friend of a professor who told her she was "too independent" for grad school. What she found was a gau ntlet of boorish male behavior. After working as an editor's assistant at GQ, she was only 25 when she got her "dream job" at Esquire.
At times, Miller's writing comes across as intellectually self-conscious. Yet her descriptions of the sexism and #MeToo moments she encountered are chilling, and probably familiar to many working women of a certain age. The sparks fly off the page as she remembers her interactions with the decade-older Wallace. He referred to her as his "willowy, French-eyed girl" and told her that she would "be a stellar mother."
After their ugly and inevitable breakup, he conducted himself in a petulant, caddish fashion, bad-mouthing her and killing off "some vague idea" of her in his unpleasant story "The Suffering Channel," from 2004's "Oblivion." Yet they maintained a friendship and a professional relationship.
Miller has remained a fan of his, and of his writing, revealing a glimpse of the man behind the cult adoration. Anyone who has fallen for a brilliant and difficult paramour will relate.


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