The Wicked Pavilion (Google eBook)

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Steerforth Press, Nov 8, 2011 - Fiction - 281 pages
17 Reviews
The “Wicked Pavilion” of the title is the Café Julien, where everybody who is anybody goes to recover from failed love affairs and to pursue new ones, to cadge money, to hatch plots, and to puncture one another’s reputation. Dennis Orphen, the writer from Dawn Powell’s Turn, Magic Wheel, makes an appearance here, as does Andy Callingham, Powell’s thinly disguised Ernest Hemingway. The climax of this mercilessly funny novel comes with a party which, remarked Gore Vidal, “resembles Proust’s last roundup,” and where one of the partygoers observes, “There are some people here who have been dead twenty years.”

"For decades Dawn Powell was always just on the verge of ceasing to be a cult and becoming a major religion." -- Gore Vidal


From the Trade Paperback edition.
  

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Review: The Wicked Pavilion

User Review  - Tobias - Goodreads

Very good mid-century American fiction -- though, oddly, the cover copy on the edition I have kinda spoils something. (To the extent that they can be spoiled -- this could fairly be called a comedy of manners, so we're not in THE USUAL SUSPECTS territory here.) Read full review

Review: The Wicked Pavilion

User Review  - Eric - Goodreads

I discovered this book because of a literary pub crawl I run in Greenwich Village, and I fell in love with her. This book is a funny, touching, scathing and sentimental look at the many different ... Read full review

Contents

PART ONE
  entrance 
  a young man against the city 
  the man behind the beard 
  ladies of the town 
  evening at home 
  the telephone date 
  one good time before we die 
PART FOUR
  well all go up to Cynthias house 
  the playback 
  the bore that walks like a man 
  one has ones own life to live 
  everybody needs a boat 
PART FIVE
  view of the harbour 

PART TWO
  Gentleman against women 
  the animal lovers 
PART THREE
  journey over the bridge 
  the waters under the bridge 
  the Marius assignment 
  the portrait found and lost 
  olive branch in family tree 
  the café had three exits 
  the farewell banquet 
  the nightcap 
  the birds gone 
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About the author (2011)

Ten years after Steerforth launched the Dawn Powell revival, her five best-selling novels are being reissued in newly designed Zoland Books editions with Reading Group Guides inside.

Late in life, out of luck and fashion, Henry James predicted a day when all of his neglected novels would kick off their headstones, one after another. As the twentieth century came to an end, the works of Dawn Powell managed the same magnificent task.
When Powell died in 1965, virtually all her books were out of print. Not a single historical survey of American literature mentioned her, even in passing. And so she slept, seemingly destined to be forgotten – or, to put it more exactly, never to be remembered.
How things have changed! Twelve of Powell’s novels have now been reissued, along with editions of her plays, diaries, letters, and short stories. She has joined the Library of America, admitted to the illustrious company of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Adams, Frederick Douglass, and Edith Wharton. She is taught in college and read with delight on vacation. For the contemporary poet and novelist Lisa Zeidner, writing in The New York Times Book Review, Powell “is wittier than Dorothy Parker, dissects the rich better than F. Scott Fitzgerald, is more plaintive than Willa Cather in her evocation of the heartland, and has a more supple control of satirical voice than Evelyn Waugh.” For his part, Gore Vidal offered a simple reason for Powell’s sudden popularity: “We are catching up to her.”

Tim Page, Powell’s biographer, from his new foreword to My Home Is Far Away, Dawn Powell was born in Mt. Gilead, Ohio, on November 28, 1896, the second of three daughters. Her father was a traveling salesman, and her mother died a few days after Dawn turned seven. After enduring great cruelty at the hands of her stepmother, Dawn ran away at the age of thirteen and eventually arrived at the home of her maternal aunt, who served hot meals to travelers emerging from the train station across the street. Dawn worked her way through college and made it to New York. There she married a young advertising executive and had one child, a boy who suffered from autism, then an unknown condition.
Powell referred to herself as a “permanent visitor” in her adopted Manhattan and brought to her writing a perspective gained from her upbringing in Middle America. She knew many of the great writers of her time, and Diana Trilling famously said it was Dawn “who really says the funny things for which Dorothy Parker gets credit.” Ernest Hemingway called her his “favorite living writer.” She was one of America’s great novelists, and yet when she died in 1965 she was buried in an unmarked grave in New York’s Potter’s Field.

Her books live, and with these newly designed editions, with their reading group guides inside, more people than ever before will be able to hear Dawn’s distinctive voice.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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