Life's Tumultuous Party Cover

“Parties are my library,” says notorious party-crasher, Lower East Side denizen, and exuberantly idiosyncratic prose stylist Marvin Cohen. In this surrealistic suite of stories, dialogues and other party-dances, Cohen dissects party-going as both celebrant and philosopher, “romping in the wildness and mystery of parties” and finding there the “pulse and throb and beat” of our individual and collective natures. Edited and introduced by Colin Myers.


“Marvin Cohen’s Life’s Tumultuous Party is an insightful, imaginative, and fun exploration of parties told by a connoisseur who’s also a genuine authority. Approaching a rarely explored topic as both passionate participant and cultural critic, Cohen turns social gatherings into laboratories of interpersonal interaction and libraries of the human psyche. The prose dances as though across a ballroom’s parquet; and the structure proves as exciting as any Mardi Gras masquerade. Cohen’s collection does for parties what Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities does for architecture. So skip the party, bail on your evening plans, cancel your date, and read this book!”

—Jacob M. Appel, author of Millard Salter’s Last Day

“Marvin Cohen is a divine erratic, an American eccentric, a talker, a monologuist, an adroit practitioner of the rhetorical device of amplification, a party prophet, a seer, and wit. He is the Walt Whitman or Henry Miller of parties. He excels at the whimsical elaboration of small things. He is a master of the shortest of forms, the sentence—sentences, not difficult in meaning, yet difficult in their memory draw, their rhythmic deferrals, their artfully prolonged sinusoid articulations. Over and over, the awe-struck reader inwardly exclaims: Good Lord! You can really do that with a sentence!”

—Douglas Glover, author of The Erotics of Restraint: Essays on Literary Form