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This collection of paintings, photographs and original essays and poems on a summery theme offers high and low moments. In an exquisitely evocative piece, "The Heart of the Seasons," Elizabeth Hardwick reflects on a time of year that "can make the homely and the humble if not exactly beautiful, beautifully acceptable" and which is lit with magical presences: "the supersonic hummingbird in the browning hydrangea bush." With novelistic brio, Anatole Broyard calls up "a fever of the mind, a bloom of consciousness" found in the sweltering months of his New Orleans boyhood. And in a tight-lipped commentary, Calvin Trillin rues that "summertime in Kansas City was a frenzied, doomed search for chigger nostrums." Other contributions, by Laurie Colwin and John Updike, for example, are strictly occasional, and visually the book seems possessed by the spirit of Edward Hopper (and imitators), with notable exceptions in the art of David Hockney, Robert Adams, Dorothy Low and Walker Evans. Gordon is a director at New York City's Manhattan Theatre Club; Virga is the author of A Comfortable Corner .
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