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Farewell, Dorothy Parker


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About the Author

Ellen Meister is the author of The Other Life, The Smart One, and Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA. She teaches creative writing at Hofstra University School of Continuing Education and runs an online group where she mentors aspiring women authors.


Meister casts Dorothy Parker as a blithe spirit in her fanciful third novel (after The Other Life). Though movie critic Violet Epps has become famous for her scathing no-holds-barred wit, off the page, Violet is "held captive by her own timidity"; she can't seem to dump her freeloading boyfriend, her assistant walks all over her, and she rarely accepts social invitations. Worst of all, this shyness has resulted in her being denied temporary custody of her recently orphaned 13-year-old niece, just when the girl needs her "Aunt V" the most. A fateful dinner at the Algonquin Hotel (one-time Parker hangout) ends with Violet becoming haunted by the spirit of her greatest influence. The acid-tongued, gin-swilling ghost immediately sets to meddling in Violet's affairs, in an attempt to help her grow a backbone. With Parker's help, Violet takes risks at work, connects with a new man, and finds the courage to make an impassioned plea for custody of her niece. With Violet's help, Parker's spirit may finally find peace. Meister skillfully translates the rapier-like wit of the Algonquin Round Table to modern-day New York. There are no shocking twists, but pathos, nuanced characters, plenty of rapid-fire one-liners, and a heart-rending denouement. Agent: Andrea Cirillo, the Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

In this funny yet tender homage to Dorothy Parker, Meister's fourth novel (after The Other Life) resurrects the iconic wit of the literary legend. Violet Epps tiptoes through life wearing her anxiety and deference to others like a shield. She just doesn't have faith that she can stand up for herself to a pushy boyfriend, an overreaching junior colleague, or her orphaned niece's paternal grandparents, especially not with the kind of conviction typically conveyed by Dorothy Parker. Little does Violet realize that along with the Algonguin Hotel guest book that she impulsively stole and that is signed by her idol comes the spectral Mrs. Parker. Coached (and sometimes possessed!) by Mrs. Parker, Violet practices finding her voice and putting her past to rest so that she can fully face her future. VERDICT With a breezy and engaging writing style complete with Parkeresque banter, Meister's book can be forgiven a slightly predictable storyline. Realizing how it will end takes no pleasure from the reading, and the blend of romance and family drama with a hint of the paranormal has broad appeal. This will be enjoyed by readers who liked Jennifer Crusie's Maybe This Time.-Amy Brozio-Andrews, Albany P.L., NY (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

"Magical fun." --Booklist

"[Meister] reveals the pathos behind the pith, and she instructs readers about the enduring legacy of a writer who produced not just 'scathing reviews, clever jokes, quotable poetry, and insightful short stories' but also championed social causes. Classic Parker zingers sprinkled throughout the novel add sparkle."--Washington Post

"Meister honors Dorothy Parker, her still-fresh political convictions, and her body of witty, insightful work in this very nice literary romp.... Parker was the perfect New Yorker: sharp, witty and eminently quotable. And it is clear that Meister had a lot of responsible fun paying tribute to her."--Bookreporter

"Meister skillfully translates the rapier-like wit of the Algonquin Round Table to modern-day New York ... [with] pathos, nuanced characters, plenty of rapid-fire one-liners, and a heart-rending denouement."--Publishers Weekly

"This funny yet tender homage...resurrects the iconic wit of the literary legend...Breezy and engaging...complete with Parkeresque banter."--Library Journal

"Farewell, Dorothy Parker is a delightful haunting. How wonderful to have the renowned wit--America's wisegirl--as resident ghost and adviser.... Ellen Meister's new novel is smart and fun."--Susan Isaacs, New York Times bestselling author of As Husbands Go

"Gone four decades and still missed, Dorothy Parker now has a starring role in Ellen Meister's delicious new novel. No doubt Mrs. Parker, wherever she is, must be smiling." --Marion Meade, author of Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell Is This?

"In Farewell, Dorothy Parker, Ellen Meister provides refreshing insight into Mrs. Parker as a wit, civil rights advocate, and writer. Both of this bitchin' novel's main characters--Violet and Dorothy--can visit me any time."--Mark Ebner, New York Times bestselling author of Hollywood, Interrupted

"What bliss to be in the company of a reimagined Dorothy Parker! Ellen Meister's wonderful novel delivers the wit, ingenuity and elegiac sass worthy of the Algonquin Table's most quoted member. Long live Dorothy Parker and her zingers, resurrected so winningly in these pages."
--Elinor Lipman author of The Family Man

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