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RI Archives: Style

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The Wandering Eye Says Hermes’ New Book Is A Great Escape

Our Wandering Eye blogger, interior designer Carey Maloney, and his husband, architect Hermes Mallea, are principals in the Manhattan based design firm M (Group).

Well, he’s gone and done it again. Hermes has a new book out. It’s only his second — but it feels like his tenth. 

Our personal literary saga started with his book, Great Houses of Havana. We made research trip after trip (after trip after trip) to the Pearl of the Antilles, with me bitching and moaning “Why can’t we go to Paris??? Why do we always have to go to Havana???” “I’m hungry.” “I’m HOT!” “What did that man say?” “I’m HOT!” “I don’t feel so good…” 

Bear in mind this torment is totally justified and delivered as required. One of Hermes’ nicknames is “Condescencion.”


Havana is hot. Very, very hot.

Granted, we had a good time; we always have a good time (even in Guatemala — aka HELL). But Cuba gave me plenty of ammo to kvetch and whine. 

So he finishes that first damn book and it is a triumph. Both the Commies and the right wingers love it. So that’s good. But — there is always a but — inexplicably, after 30 years of “Carey and Hermes,” “Carey and Hermes,” it was suddenly, “Hermes and Carey” at best. “Hermes and What’s His Name” at worst.



A compliment from Strand Books.

The line was drawn in the sand.

I was gonna write me a book. I gave myself a 12-month deadline and knocked out STUFF. Happily, it was well received and my stock ascended. For a while.

Then, upstate, he started hiding back in that palace of a bedroom suite he enjoys (while I camp in a tiny sad little room ☹) and I knew something was up. Another damn book. 

Well, I have to admit, he does it well. Escape: The Heyday of Caribbean Glamour is a thing of beauty and full of architectural information and social history. Chocka block full. Nowadays, the reading public isn’t very into actual words. Give them a full-bleed photograph with a caption placed far from it and they seem content. This makes us nuts — we want words and information and pretty pictures. Call us crazy.

So buy Escape from your local bookstore, design shop, or from the notorious Amazon. And read it. Trust me, you’ll learn something and enjoy it.

I am throwing a booksigning on November 12 at The New York Public Library in the very glamorous Trustees’ Room from 6:30 until 8:30 p.m. 

Fabulous venues continue in Hudson, where our buddy Colin Stair is hosting a signing on Saturday, November 29 at the very glamorous Stair Galleries, from 5:30 until 7:30 p.m. 

We hope you can join us at one or the other!

In the meantime, here are some photos from the book for you to enjoy.

P.S. So I write this snarky intro and then I read Condescencion’s “Acknowledgements.” He was so nice about me: “This book would not have been possible without his enthusiasm for the story I wanted to tell.” Oops. My bad. Now I’m all guilty.




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Posted by Lisa Green on 10/31/14 at 04:20 PM • Permalink