A Time to Be Born

Dawn Powell, Author Yarrow Press $9.94 (334p) ISBN 978-1-878274-06-9
Here's one to savor when you're feeling sour--a reissue of a 1942 novel teeming with egregiously opportunistic, social-climbing Manhattanites who see WW II as just one more cause to manipulate and who are appalled not by Hitler's barbarism but by his mean birth and bad manners. The narcissistic queen bitch of the hour (who Gore Vidal purports is modeled casually on Clare Boothe Luce) is Amanda Keeler Evans: she snatches a newspaper baron from his wife; achieves monumental success as a romance novelist after hubby's papers print rave reviews of the ghost-written book; and, subsequently, pontificates on politics without expertise but to great acclaim. Amanda even finds a way to use newly arrived Vicky Haven, an old chum from her anonymous Ohio past. Unbeknownst to Vicky, she's to serve as beard for Amanda's affair with Ken Saunders, an old beau whom Amanda doesn't love but whom she keeps on a leash to bolster her ego. But sparks ignite between beard and beau, the egotistical newspaper baron seeks revenge against an unfaithful wife and Amanda's empire threatens to fold like a house of cards. Period details are keen (in Vicky's apartment house: ``At each landing was the conventional old-time niche designed for easing the passage of coffins up and down stairs''), and Powell's ( The Golden Spur ) spoof of the high and mighty still sizzles half a century after it was written. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
Paperback - 327 pages - 978-1-883642-41-9
Open Ebook - 185 pages - 978-1-58195-247-6
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