Am greatly enjoying reading Elaine Dundy’s comic novel about a young American in the Left Bank of Paris in the early 1950s, The Dud Avocado (1958). It’s just been reissued in paperback. The heroine Sally Jay Gorce is much closer to Holly Golightly than to Daisy Miller, merci beaucoup! Looking back on all her adventures, she makes comedy out of her uncertainties and blunders, which are no worse than those made by her pals obtuse enough to think they know what they are doing.
And the prose! It’s got the bravado of youth and not too much—but just enough—of the wisdom of age. Sally Jay, who finds work as an actor, turns many a bon mot: “I mean, the question actors most often get asked is how they can bear saying the same things over and over again night after night, but God knows the answer to that is, don’t we all anyway; might as well get paid for it.”