A short, witty picture book for adults, The Mural at Waverly Inn details the mural by artist Edward Sorel that papers the walls of the exclusive Bank Street restaurant.
The mural depicts caricatures of famous Greenwich Village inhabitants (many of whom have been written about on this blog). An introduction by Carter briefly describes the process that he and Waverly Inn co-owner Roberto Bernabib went through in choosing who would grace the Inn’s walls.
Their choices skew heavily towards authors and artists (Edward Albee, Anais Nin, Joan Baez), there’s some variety. We have activists (Jane Jacobs, Margaret Sanger), and first ladies (Eleanor Roosevelt). Each page of the book is dedicated to someone else, and contains both their caricature from Sorel’s mural and a short, punchy vignette by Gallagher.
The book serves as a decent introduction to the village’s many personalities, as Gallagher is able to offer a succinct, interesting sum of each person’s life and work while leaving the reader wanting more, perhaps prompting further research. I found myself particularly fascinated by Djuna Barnes, and plan on learning more about her (once this semester is over!)
Last but not least-the book comes with a fold-out copy of the mural in miniature, so you, too, can enjoy Edward Sorel’s mural in full. And you won’t even have to buy $75 mac-and-cheese to do it.