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City of Allusion

November 03, 1996|Bill Stern

Once upon a time, books were books and businesses were businesses with generic names like Acme Electric and Dombey and Son. But somewhere along the way, stores started sprouting names that alluded to popular literature. These homages are all over town--though some are more suitable matches than others. We can easily figure out Tea and Sympathy (cafe and food shop) and Auntie Mame's Browse Around (vintage clothes). And it shouldn't surprise us that Aldous Huxley could have searched for comic books at Brave New World, or that Pippi Longstocking might have enjoyed dinner at Villa Ville Kulla or that E.M. Forster could even have furnished "Howards End" at Room With a View. But I'm not sure what Herman Melville would have thought of Moby Disc (CD store) or what Samuel Butler would have made of Erewhon (natural foods). You'd think that The Children's Hour and the Little Shop of Horrors would be out there, too, but I'm still looking for them. There is, however, a Once Upon a Time in Montrose--and, yes, it sells children's books.

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