The Dud Avocado

The Dud Avocado

Book - 2007
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The Dud Avocado follows the romantic and comedic adventures of a young American who heads overseas to conquer Paris in the late 1950s. Edith Wharton and Henry James wrote about the American girl abroad, but it was Elaine Dundy's Sally Jay Gorce who told us what she was really thinking. Charming, sexy, and hilarious, The Dud Avocado gained instant cult status when it was first published and it remains a timeless portrait of a woman hell-bent on living.
Publisher: New York : New York Review Books, ©2007
ISBN: 9781590172322
Branch Call Number: FICTION DUNDY
Characteristics: x, 260 pages ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Teachout, Terry


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An amusing look at an American girl in Paris in the 1950s.

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Mar 12, 2017

Not to put too fine a point on it, this "novel" sucks. It's a Dud all right, however there are no avocados anywhere. The writing stinks. This so-called "comic" novel isn't funny; it isn't amusing. It's generic. Dud may be the first novel to be set in Paris where the city never emerges as a character in its own right or even registers as a presence. Author Elaine Dundy's vapid stick-figure heroine, the tiresome Sally Jay Gorce, could be anywhere from Budapest to Waxahachie and ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about the character or the horrid excuse for a narrative would be any different, any better. This book FAILS the 20-page rule. After beginning it faithfully, I skipped around from page to page searching for signs of improvement as it goes along. There were NONE. Dundy could type, but she couldn't write. This was her only "success," and one senses that was a total fluke. Luminaries from Hemingway to Groucho Marx professed to find value in this worthless bore; one suspects Dundy's famous husband, the esteemed drama critic Kenneth Tynan, must have somehow persuaded them to as favors. Published the same year as Breakfast at Tiffany's, Dud received favorable comparisons (!) yet Dundy was NO Truman Capote and the empty, flat-out UNINTERESTING Sally Jay is certainly no Holly Golightly. I can't imagine for whom this horrid, hollow, ugly-American-centric total nothing of a "story" could possibly have been intended. It singularly flops at every level. Shame on the NY Review of Books for reprinting this lifeless junk.


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