Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I always feel naked when I put myself out there poetically, like I just sang "Auld Lang Syne" in my underwear at a party. Plus now the snow's been postponed until tomorrow when it's going to be much more inconvenient. BOO. So I retreat behind the thicket of prose!

I am finally reading Elaine Dundy's The Dud Avocado, just the latest of those great cracks in the dyke of literary knowledge that suddenly appear (the rest languishing thankfully unknown); I had only vaguely heard of the book when Dundy died this year and thus learned more about it (thank you MA). OH it is great. I am going verrrry slowly, for to savor. It's having a funny resonant effect with having recently read a couple books by Patrick Dennis--there is something really really wonderful about reading this kind of book by a woman, from that time, being as goofy and smart and knowing as anybody else writing their first novel (despite being a very American book, it doesn't feel too much to compare it to Lucky Jim). As I understand it, with this round of rediscovery the book's being commandeered/sliding under the umbrella of/being optioned for film as a "chick lit" book, but so far mostly what I'm reminded of are other comic writers like Dennis, David Lodge or Mary Wesley. And the Judith Jones autobiography, since that's exactly when she was in Paris too.

The book is also making me realize for the 900th time how much more Dawn Powell I need to read. Which makes this an oblique shout-out to my friend Kim, who noted this fact long ago in the northern suburbs of Chicago, long before Amy Sherbet-Palatino was doing it on the Gilmore Girls, but I still wasn't paying enough attention. [Hi Kim! You are the greatest.]

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