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Deft, funny, knowing, compassionate and poetic. --John Updike in the New Yorker
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Two novels and nine short stories from a wry early 20th century writer who has been compared to Dorothy Parker, Muriel Spark, Anthony Powell, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The introduction from New York Newsday music critic Tim Page (currently at work on a Powell biography) offers compelling insight into a woman who embodied the passionate, laissez-faire attitude of Greenwich Village in the 1920s and translated it into work that is often both cynical and deeply romantic--but always, always funny. Judging from this particular collection, Powell stuck with a few main themes. She candidly revealed women in a realistic light, as when a wife bravely confronts her abusive traveling salesman husband in the novel Dance Night or when two newly wedded mothers shoplift their way out of boredom in the story ``Such a Pretty Day.'' (Edmund Wilson once noted that Powell's work didn't quite suit feminists because ``the women who appear in her stories are likely to be as sordid and absurd as the men.'') She cast an honest eye on the suffocating effects of small town life and depicted the mixed blessing of escape to the big city, as in the story ``What Are You Doing in My Dreams?'' which shows a woman receiving nightly visits from dead relatives she left long ago in Ohio. And she closely studied the New York glitterati and city sophisticates; the novel Turn, Magic Wheel lays bare the Big Apple's literary scene and reveals a young writer to be a self-serving parasite. Powell's work is a testament to her belief that ``true wit should break a wise man's heart. It should strike at the exact point of weakness and it should scar.'' A little weighty if read too quickly, this collection demands time and patience to allow the robustness of Powell's work to come through--and the comic wounds she inflicts to heal. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Nostalgic as a vintage movie, though often marred by a plotless drift and trivializing portrayals of women and ethnic minorities, these two reissued novels and nine stories recall Powell (1897-1965) from critical oblivion. Powell creates evocative scenes. In dead-end, working-class Lampton (Dance Night, 1930), "behind the honeysuckle vines on the boarding-house porches the girls sat in their kimonos eating ice-cream." This novel's hub is a popular dance academy, which prim milliner Elsinore attends and where she develops a crush on the teacher. Discontent drives Elsinore to crime and a new life as a chic streetwalker. Turn, Magic Wheel (1936) derides in gushy prose the New York literary scene, where vapid writers and publishers gossip, booze and name-drop. The novel's protagonist, redhead novelist Dennis Orphen, uses lovers-staunch Effie and flirty Corinne-as grist for stories, wielding power with his "shiny little pen." Meanwhile, Effie tends her ex-husband's (another writer) current wife, who is painfully dying of cancer-an incident treated with clumsy satire. In two stories, girlfriends scheme to escape their men. Powell seems to sum up her artistic position in the short story "What Are You Doing in My Dreams?" whose narrator feels she "left Ohio... split in two at the crossroads," with one half in New York, the other "by night with the dead in long-ago Ohio."
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Steerforth Press, S.Royalton,VT, 1994. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition; First Printing. Book and DJ New. NO notes, names or ANY markings. New DJ not price clipped ($28) ; 452 pages. Seller Inventory # 5264
Book Description Steerforth, 1998. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX1883642167
Book Description Steerforth, 1998. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P111883642167
Book Description Condition: Brand New. New. Seller Inventory # A12511
Book Description Steerforth. Hardcover. Condition: New. 1883642167 New Condition. Seller Inventory # NEW7.0795745