observations: Should be read with earlier blog entry on this book.
Sally Jay Gorce is auditioning for a role in a play put on by other expat Americans in Paris in the 50s. She is very good – and funny – on clothes; those three categories of clothes often seem to describe exactly the Clothes in Books wardrobe when looking for the right outfit. (Yes yes, don’t complain, we know librarians wear the same clothes as everyone else, we’re thinking about the idea the phrase summons.)
Clothes, social life, boyfriends – she is very specific about Paris, but many of her problems resonate with anyone who has been 20-something. Her description of giving her first dinner party is hilarious: “Any moron can cook a steak, I kept saying to myself…. Everybody was terribly kind and cooperative at dinner and it took all four of us ceaselessly moiling and toiling from kitchen to studio and back again to organize and consume a simple meal…” The writer Katherine Whitehorn used it in her Cooking in a Bedsitter as an example of what not to do - that was my first introduction to The Dud Avocado, a long long time ago, and both books can take me straight back to that period in my life.
Elaine Dundy was married to the critic Kenneth Tynan, and she mentions him in passing – a character says “Met an Englishman called Tynan in Spain a while ago and he put me in his bullfight book…”
Links on the blog: Previous entry on the book. Noel Streatfeild does a good line in dressing for auditions, as does Dodie Smith.
The picture, by Modigliani, is in the Museum of Grenoble.