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3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  35 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Carl Van Vechten's famed satirical portrait of upper-bohem New Yorkers and Harlem jazz clubs. David Westlake has killed someone, and his wife, so she herself reports, has committed suicide! Hyperbole, the reader quickly perceives, is the common language of these sozzled socialites who spend their nights in Harlem speakeasies and their days in drunken gossip. But people ...more
Paperback, 0 pages
Published June 28th 1977 by Avon Books (first published 1930)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Jul 04, 2013 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it
The star of this book the leading actor and actress is:
ounce cointreau
ounce lemon juice
1 ounces of cognac
Shake well with cracked ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass and add orange wedge.

 photo Sidecar1920s_zpsfd1ce3f3.jpg
You can almost taste it.

The supporting actor and actress of this grand farce are David and Rilda. If the name Rilda puts you in mind of Zelda I’m sure that was the intention. F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda have become synonymous with the Jazz age. Their d
Jul 20, 2016 Sketchbook rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A hilarious and poignant ride through the end of the
1920s in which the duo, David & Rilda, are stand-ins
for Scott & Zelda. David tells his wife that he has
to get away "from what it is that makes us hate and love
and drink." A black clairvoyant stuns their pal Hamish, a
sub for CVV: "You don't know where you are, or who you are."
Others in the alcoholic circus include movie star Midnight
Blue who never "allows anything but silk and flesh" to touch
her body and a drug addicted bootlegger who'l
Distress Strauss
Jul 19, 2015 Distress Strauss rated it liked it
In the vein of early Waugh, though without the depth (but also without the hatred of pleasure). Van Vechten had a journalist's eye for detail and great ear for idiom, though his characters aren't really differentiated. That may have been the point. Odd that a novel that takes place in NY over 1929-30 only touches upon the stock market crash, but I suppose that for much of the rich, it didn't really matter. Likewise, though the characters all love Harlem, they listen almost exclusively to ...more
L.M. Elm
Nov 22, 2016 L.M. Elm rated it liked it
Meh...this was my first foray into Van Vechten. I found the characters to be blunt...boring. Drinking, drinking and more drinking. The small descriptions of New York City saved the book for me.
Nov 12, 2008 Jessica rated it liked it
I picked this book up from an old theater sale when drunken conversational passages caught my eye. As someone who's never lived in NY, it does a spot on job of portraying a cut of restless NY society. The protagonists are stumble from party to party from Ny to Europe and back with lapses of introspection, but they're not to be wrapped and delivered in a tidy package. It's amusing, frothy, with darker under-currents and clever observations: a sauce for the main dish.
Jul 20, 2008 Katie rated it liked it
The impression Carl Van Vechten is trying to give of New Yorkers in the '20s is a bit heavy-handed - it's no "Vile Bodies" - but I'm reading it because of Van Vechten's renowned career as a critic and art collector.
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American novelist, music-dance critic, born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, educated at the University of Chicago. Van Vechten (1880-1964) was one of the most influential literary figures of the 1910s and 1920s. He began his career in journalism as a reporter, then in 1906 joined The New York Times as assistant music critic and later worked as its Paris correspondent. His early reviews are collected in Int ...more
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