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'Reporting Always' by Lillian Ross: EW review

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Reporting Always: Writings from The New Yorker

Current Status:
In Season
Lillian Ross

We gave it an A

I was surprised to learn that the venerable Lillian Ross, a writer at The New Yorker since 1945, eschews the use of tape recorders for her famous interviews. “I prefer to take notes and trust my own ear for dialogue,” she writes crisply in the introduction to Reporting Always, a collection of her most luminous New Yorker pieces. The book contains my all-time favorite, a marvelous 1950 profile of Ernest Hemingway drawn from days of interviews. First Ross joins “Papa” at his hotel for champagne and caviar (Marlene Dietrich pops by), then she takes him coat shopping at Abercrombie & Fitch, and finally they spend a morning at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where Hemingway, nipping from a silver flask, gazes at a Cézanne painting called Rocks—Forest of Fontainebleau. “This is what we try to do in writing,” he tells Ross, “this and this, and the woods, and the rocks we have to climb over.” A