The title of Cynthia Zarin's essay collection "An Enlarged Heart" refers to her young daughter's alarming illness, the subject of one of the pieces in the collection. It also describes the writer's highly refined sensibility, which sensitively registers the lovely enclosed realm of New York intellectual life, Ivy League tribal rituals and love and regret for disappearing Manhattan places.
Like so many books about life in New York and outlying places where the beautiful and gifted flock, the book deals with a rarified nostalgia the intensely capitalist city often evokes among members of its creative class. Zarin, a poet and former On and Off the Avenue columnist for the New Yorker, natively speaks the elliptical language she has the self-awareness to gently mock as she expertly wields it.
The book ends with a memoir of working at the New Yorker in the last days of legendary editor William Shawn. Zarin, while traversing well-traveled ground, gives a reckoning that's fresh and new. Once again, I found myself walking down the magazine's strangely mirrored halls and entering its galley-stuffed offices, as if for the first time.