Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Portable Dorothy Parker, Marion Meade

I do like a collection that has been curated by its author. And the first part of this portable consists of stories Parker chose to comprise a Viking Press anthology in 1944 for those in uniform. It is a "tidy package of quality wares that has remained continuously in print." This expanded edition leaves that material intact and includes along with it a selection of articles, letters, interviews and poems in order to present a fuller picture. As a newcomer, I am still working my way through the work of an author whose reputation for acerbic wit precedes her. From Arrangement in Black and White to Big Blonde or Here We Are, this has been a real treat of an introduction; she was a prolific natural writer with a careful eye for human behavior and ear for exchanges. Excessively quoted for a reason, she achieves her trademark humor, really, through heartbreaking accuracy on the human condition across a range of characters. From the back flap:

"I know this will come as a shock to you, Mr. Goldwyn, but in all history, which has held billions and billions of human beings, not a single one ever had a happy ending."

Parker must appreciate the fact that she is buried in Baltimore. High-hat! Seriously, with rough cut cream paper and a masterfully illustrated jacket courtesy of Seth, this book has a satisfying heft, fit for the treasure inside. Beautiful both to gift and own, and of course, read. Recommended, recommended.

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