On Reading The Novels Of Dawn Powell

If life is a carnival then lately it is a carnival of unbridled self-regard, self-interest and self-promotion out there.

The movers and shakers in the Finance world prescribe techniques to make money with spiritual perfection. No work of art or entertainment or its producer is allowed to showcase them without a dispiriting spectacle or devised campaign of hype. If you aren’t rich or famous, hang your head low. You ain’t worth nothin’ and if you’re a thinking, feeling human being, how are you going to deal?

I advise you to read Dawn Powell. No other writer living or dead speaks more directly to the cheesy world we live in. Her signature novels were dizzying comedies of New Yorkers on the make. Witnessing the social, sexual and career shenanigans that can be found in any urban setting, Powell thought funny, while Arthur Miller found them tragic.

Her novels and cast of characters are urbanites–writers on the rise or skids, publishers and gallery owners who feed off their talent, sexual opportunists and mistress juggling entrepreneurs.

The randy executives in “Angels On Toast” expend more time and energy carousing with their mistresses and calming down their long-suffering wives than on business affairs.

It’s a priviledge to read Dawn Powell–if you do it gives hope for the future. I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately if just to take myself out of the chaos of every day living.

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