dawn powell is one of the best authors you have never read. and i know you haven’t read her, or more of her books would be in print. this one is out of print. and when i found it at one of the best used bookstores i have ever been to, along with another of her titles that i needed, i squealed loudly and grabbed them and smoooshed them to my chest as though there were other people around who would have fought me for them. there weren’t. they wouldn’t have. no one reads her. i bought one of her books for david, and he hasn’t read it yet either.
i don’t know what to do anymore. do i need to bribe you?
the best i can do is tell you that you should read her, but ultimately it is up to you.
this book is not among my favorites, but it is still very very good. what dawn powell does is write about new york artists and social climbers and wastrels of the thirties and forties, and the way they betray one another and coolly conduct their lives while disregarding the feelings of others. and when you find out that many of these characters are based on real people she knew (like hemingway), how are you going to keep saying “no”??
this novel features a woman from small-town poverty hiding her past, marrying well, and allowing her husband to arrange her “successes” and hire people to write the work she becomes known for, all the while resenting him and carrying on an affair with an old flame. meanwhile, a friend from the old days runs away from a broken heart to the big city and both enables and complicates amanda’s affair. other things happen, there are highs and lows, but this one just didn’t sparkle for me like the wicked pavilion or the locusts have no king, which were two of the finest books i have ever read.
i would love for her to become the secret darling of goodreads.com let’s get classy, okay?
p.s.: who’s cuter than dawn powell??