When NYRB Classics reprinted Elaine Dundy's The Dud Avocado earlier this summer, I completely missed it. Thankfully, a colleague pointed me towards a review, and I immediately jumped on the waiting list for it at the library. Now, the more I read about it, the more I realize that I'm going to have to go out and buy the darn thing. It sounds too good not to own. It's probably worth owning for the saucy cover alone.
The story, set in the 1950s, involves an American girl who drops out of college and runs off to conquer Paris and avoid the cruel fate of becoming a librarian. She takes up with a married man, tries to make it as an actress, and lurks around the city's nightspots with an assorted cast of bohemians and artists. And apparently, it's hilarious. Here's a little snippet that amused me:
"Now here's the heavy irony. So I went back to New York to become a librarian. To actually seek out this thing I've been fleeing all my life. And (here it comes): a librarian is just not that easy to become. I'd taken my lamb by the hand to the slaughter and nobody even wanted it. Apparently there's a whole filing system and annotating system and stamping system and God knows what you have to learn before you qualify. So I finally found a little out-of-the-way, off-the-beaten-track library downtown and they let me put the books away.
So I felt I was accomplishing something."
In other news, the new Ann Patchett book is coming out soon, and I'm a little nervous about it. I read absolutely everything Patchett writes: Bel Canto is one of my desert island reading books, I adored Truth & Beauty, and I really enjoyed watching her tear into the douchbags who tried to get her book banned from Clemson, and be absolutely classy and ladylike about it.
So, I was a little surprised to find that I'm not loving the premise of Run. It sounds like the plots of five books mashed together, yet somehow, it also sounds a little dull. Am I going to read it anyway? You betcha. A writer who's never disappointed me before deserves the 50 page test, at least. I just wish I was a little more excited about it.