Not Just Another Grouchy Grammarian

Musings about language, books, grammar, and writing in general

Review: A Piece of Pie, by Damon Runyon

I found Damon Runyon’s A Piece of Pie at the urging of a non-Goodreads friend who knows I love New York stories. So, following her advice, I listened to a radio version from KBOO, narrated by a fellow named Napales Yellow.

It was delightful — the story is about an eating contest between Boston and New York contenders, with the New Yorkers betting on Nicely-Nicely Jones to win for them. Nicely-Nicely, however, cannot take part in the contest, so a substitute is found and the story proceeds from there.

This was definitely a story to listen to, rather than read, as Mr. Yellow’s version of Damon Runyon’s version of a New York accent was spot on, and totally comparable to those in the musical or movie versions of Guys and Dolls where, by the way, most of us first became aware of Nicely-Nicely Jones. The story takes place during the 1920s.

I was rather annoyed that when I tried to find A Piece of Pie at the three library systems I have access to nothing came up — not even other stories by Mr. Runyon. We are losing far too many classics, in my opinion, but that’s for another blog post.

The only problem I have with A Piece of Pie is that I now want to add audio versions of other Damon Runyon works to my ever-expanding reading list. And, if you listen to this and enjoy it, I’m sure you will want to also.

UPDATE & NOTE: While checking around for audio versions of Runyon’s work, I found that The Internet Archive has a page called The Damon Runyon Theatre, which has 52 audio broadcasts of Damon Runyon’s short stories, including A Piece of Pie.

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