Lynne Murphy in the TLS:
Until recently, Fran Lebowitz was not well known in Britain. The release this year of Martin Scorsese’s Netflix series Pretend It’s a City, however, has made her something of a household name here. A veritable Franbase has now formed in the UK, giving rise to online appearances, a tour scheduled for next year and the first publication in this country of The Fran Lebowitz Reader (which was originally published in the United States in 1994). The Lebowitz on the dust jacket is one fans of the series will recognize: the seasoned New Yorker with gorgeous overcoat, horn-rimmed sunglasses and cigarette, as famous for her writer’s block as for her wit. Between the covers, we meet the artist as a young woman. The Reader reproduces her only two essay collections: Metropolitan Life (1978) and Social Studies (1981), which in turn reproduce her magazine pieces of that era.
In the 1980s, those two books meant a great deal to young American women like me; they survived the subsequent drastic book culls necessitated by my three transatlantic relocations. Impossibly cool, cosmopolitan, smart, self-confident and hilarious, Lebowitz was (and is) the kind of woman we wanted to be, were afraid to be, and (let’s be honest) didn’t have the talent to be.