Meet Mazie Phillips: big-hearted and feisty, she runs The Venice, the famed movie theatre in the rundown Bowery district of New York City. She spends her days taking tickets, chatting with drunks and eccentrics, and chasing out the troublemakers. After closing up, the nights are her own, and she fills them with romance and booze aplenty-even during Prohibition.
When the Great Depression hits, and homelessness soars, Mazie opens The Venice to those in need, giving them shelter and dimes for food and booze, and earning the nickname 'Saint Mazie'. Inspired by Joseph Mitchell's essay about Mazie in Up in the Old Hotel, acclaimed author Jami Attenberg's novel honours an extraordinary life and heralds a completely original approach to writing historical fiction.
Weaving together fictionalised diaries, writings and interviews, Attenberg has constructed an utterly convincing portrait of Mazie Philips, which is also a deeply moving portrait of New York as it passed through the First World War, Prohibition, the boom of the '20s, and then the terrible depression of the '30s.