AUTHOR Marie Phillips debut novel, Gods Behaving Badly, became an instant bestseller.
London-born Marie’s second book, The Table Of Less Valued Knights, was nominated for the prestigious Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.
Now her third book, Oh, I Do Like To Be, a raucous reworking of Shakespeare’s The Comedy Of Errors, is out on February 7 (Unbound, £8.99 paperback).
IN spring, 2009, I went to New York with my friend Izzy.
She’d been offered a room by a pair of elderly friends-of-friends while I, unable to afford a hotel, eventually found a box room in a student flat on the edge of Harlem.
Every morning I would walk from my apartment to hers, passing the usual New York mix of hot dog salesmen, impatient commuters, and celebrities (Carrie Fisher! Laurence Fishburne! Someone who might have been Kristin Scott Thomas or possibly Amelia Bullmore), and pick up Izzy for a day of sightseeing.
Izzy was furnished with a list of all the best places to go which had been contributed to by a succession of fellow travellers.
It seemed like everywhere we went was somehow linked to a film that we revered (Katz’s Deli where Sally caused a stir in When Harry Met Sally, 55 Central Park West where the giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man appears in Ghostbusters) so the entire city felt like a giant film set.
In the evenings we would go back to Izzy’s flat, eat a sandwich, then dress up and head to the most glamorous cocktail bar we could find.
And there we would sip exactly one cocktail in the company of New York’s most beautiful people.
One day we caught the subway all the way to Brighton Beach and mingled with the Russian-speaking locals, feeling like we were in a completely different country. It was pouring with rain, but even so, we walked along the waterfront to Coney Island (Alvy’s birthplace in Annie Hall), which was deserted.
All the attractions were shut, despite signs assuring us that they were “Always open! Always welcoming!”
We got frankfurters from the famous Nathan’s store, which must have been seen in a thousand posters, and took spooky photos of the abandoned fairground rides.
Coney Island was somehow the highlight of a trip that was full of highlights, even though it was a long way to go to eat hotdogs in the rain on the beach near Brighton!