Between the Lines: Stories from the Underground

S. & S. Oct. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9781982145675. $24.99. LIT
When Beutter Cohen moved to New York City in 2013, she wanted to hear every resident’s story but few people had time to share. Then, she writes, she discovered the subway—“the beating heart of the city”—and found the connection. Beutter Cohen traversed all five boroughs and every train line, meeting and talking with passengers. Her conversations with people reading on the train were documented on an Instagram account (@subwaybookreview) and now in this book. Beutter Cohen photographs readers on the train and at stations and asks about books they’re reading, but it becomes so much more than that thanks to the author’s intelligent, sensitive questions and the famous, semi-famous, and absolutely fabulous reader-riders’ replies. In loosely grouped chapters (Trees; Matriarchs; Space; Old New York; Reality), subway readers share their hopes, sorrows, and joy with Beutter Cohen, opening a portal into their lives. A complete reading list is included.
VERDICT A vibrant, varied love note to New York. Readers will feel hopeful after hearing from Beutter Cohen's delightful subjects, and perhaps emboldened to engage a stranger in conversation.
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