Fernanda Eberstadt’s latest book is a masterclass in how to live an ‘outrageous’ life

In New York, every new generation reinvents the city. In the Fifties, Manhattan was all about Ginsberg, Kerouac and the footloose Beats; in the Sixties, Mailer, Wolfe and the self-dramatising New Journalists.

After the Summer of Love and Woodstock, the Big Apple began to rot. When US president Ford said “drop dead” to the city, Greenwich Village was already deep into the new weird. This is where Bite Your Friends begins.

At midnight one evening in April 1975, having dined with her parents, this outre teenager Fernanda Eberstadt, and her best friend, a performance artist named Stephen Varble, renowned for holding up a branch of Chemical Bank in a gown made of dollar bills, with breasts fashioned from twin condoms full of fake blood, were getting dressed for a night out.

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