|A Journey Into Dorothy Parker's New York|
|Written by Eileen Forster Keck|
Dorothy Parker and New York City go together like bathtub gin and Prohibition, or a diner and an eggcream. And although she was actually born in New Jersey—through no fault of her own—she claimed the City as her home town. Who could disagree?
Kevin C. Fitzpatrick certainly doesn't, and his take on the matter—and subsequent explanation of the many places that are a little richer for having played a part in Mrs. Parker's life—is well-worth the price of admission.
This book—a softcover version of a "coffee table book", is one in the Art Place Series issued by the Roaring Forties Press (an auspicious beginning, wouldn't you say?). It has a forward by Marion Meade, one of the foremost modern authorities on Mrs. Parker and author of a superb—perhaps the best—biography of Mrs. Parker. The cover art is by Natalie Ascencios, whose original painting is presently hanging in the venerable Algonquin Hotel.
So the packaging is not only nice, but distinguished. But there's more to it than that.
Mr. Fitzpatrick, who is also President of the Dorothy Parker Society, is a real expert, and this particular subject is his passion. He presents it, chock-a-block with pertinent and accurate information, in such a way that it can be absorbed at the reader's leisure. This is a book for browsing or for concentrated reading. Not many authors can present you with those choices in one volume.
It's beautifully laid out, with amusing and charming sidebars, some of which relate directly to Mrs. Parker. Others refer to a geographical site, or another denizen of the Vicious Circle, or simply the time period at hand in nearby text. The journey is chronological, and easy to follow. The illustrations, be they photographs or sketches, are also beguiling and appropriate.
For $19.95 you can't go wrong. This is a terrific book to add to your personal library, and a painless and fact-filled means of acquainting others with the brilliance and cockeyed charm of one of the most fabulous and brilliant writers of the 20th century.
By the way—Mr. Fitzpatrick is still giving these tours à pied in Manhattan, so if you're going to be in town, check the Dorothy Parker Society's website for up-to-date information. And don't forget to bring your copy of the book for an autograph!
Check out the website at http://www.dorothyparkernyc.com/.