An ordinary day might include gossiping with Marlene Dietrich (or Maria Callas or Truman Capote), watching Eudora Welty sprint up Madison Avenue in pursuit of Greta Garbo, or entertaining William Faulkner, Noël Coward, George Balanchine, Jackie Onassis, Gypsy Rose Lee (the list goes on). Until his death in 1994, the insatiably sociable, voraciously literary Leo Lerman, editor at Vogue
and later Vanity Fair,
longed to produce a memoir of his life at the brilliantly beating heart of mid-to late-20th-century New York; now his amanuensis and editor Stephen Pascal has done it for him. The Grand Surprise: The Journals of Leo Lerman
(Knopf) is a constellation of journal entries (culled from hundreds of notebooks) that revive a shimmering gone world, and a grand eccentric ardent "to read to the end of the chapter before the lights went out."
— Cathleen Medwick