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Life Between Moments: New York Stories


Loved it! 😍

Stories about encounters, hopes and loneliness in beautiful and gentle prose—a very promising first collection of fiction.

A writer in a cafe, a teenager alone at home, a nurse writing a letter, a crowd in a bar, a journalist on a report outside of the city… What binds all these stories together? They are all somewhat related to New York, not necessarily happening in the city, but always with its views, smells or sounds in mind. Through a collection of short vignettes, Phil Rosen offers a glimpse into the life of an ordinary but multifarious cast of characters, during only a short moment of their lives. 

“I strove here to capture different slices of life that, all told, make for a lively batch of characters that harbor the same misgivings about life as you and I.” (Phil Rosen)

And he does so, beautifully. In gorgeous prose, the stories transport you to the characters’ world with very vivid descriptions of people, landscapes, small details, sounds, and smells. This collection of short stories teaches us to look around and notice others, and imagine their lives, fears and struggles. It explores ordinariness— and embraces the infinite ways to be ordinary. Phil Rosen’s impressive ability to put himself in the shoes of various characters with an uncanny accuracy will have you captivated and not wanting to put the book down. 

This collection of short stories offers a glimpse into society and what binds it together, its hopes and uncertainties. It is sometimes violent, rough, and uncomfortable but written with such gentleness! Phil Rosen imagines everyday life and unexpected tales through encounters, loneliness, travels, passion, and love— though the short stories are definitely pessimistic on love, but surprisingly hopeful regarding everything else.

The last short story seems a bit out of place, however, understandably so as it is taken from Phil Rosen’s first book, and only little if not at all connected to New York or the other stories. In a quite different style and separated from the rest, it is nonetheless beautifully written, surprisingly honest and quite tragic, which Phil Rosen knows how to do so well. 

You will not get bored a single moment while reading this book, and it is without any doubt worth reading (4/5). The stories vary in style, setting, point of view, topic and pace. A lot happens throughout these short stories— maybe too much sometimes, moving away from simple anecdotes and the simplicity of life in between moments. But maybe this is New York’s way of living— hectic, restless, unexpected. This does not prevent the reader from diving passionately right into the world of the new yorkers passing through the vignettes.

Reviewed by

English language and literature graduate. I heartily believe that stories can change the world, for the better. In a quest for new worlds and wonders, and hoping to help people discover amazing books with my reviews.

A City Debut

About the author

Phil Rosen, senior reporter for Business Insider, published his first book, Everywhere But Home, when he was 23 years old and it became an instant Amazon #1 bestseller. He has reported for Fortune, BuzzFeed News, and GreenBiz, among other outlets. Follow him @philrosenn on Twitter and Instagram. view profile

Published on August 09, 2022

Published by Tip Jar Press

30000 words

Genre: Short Story

Reviewed by