Book Twentyfive: The Old Man and Me

The Old Man and Me, Elaine Dundy

And then the follow-up to The Dud Avocado! I had one of those holy-mother-of-god-is-this-what-I-think-it-is moments when I saw this book on the shelf at the bookstore. And of course it had to be my most favorite publisher of all, NYRB Classics, to dust this one off and reprint it. Oh happy joy!

I loved this book only slightly less than I loved The Dud Avocado, but that isn't saying that I didn't like it. In fact, I like it very much. There are some similarities to The Dud Avocado: a slightly off-kilter heroine, an American girl in a foreign city (this time London), an ill-advised lover, a collection of preposterous yet such vividly written characters that you can't help but believe they exist. And there are some differences: a definitively darker plot, a more ambitious and driven heroine, a different decade (this one takes place in the 60s), and a dirtier, grimier, less glamorous city. But still there is Ms. Dundy's wit and silliness and deftness with quick-fire dialogue and lovely (and sometimes cutting) little observances of human character.


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