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Novels, 1930-1942: Dance Night / Come Back to Sorrento / Turn, Magic Wheel / Angels on Toast / A Time to Be Born

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  259 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
For decades after her death, Dawn Powell's work was out of print, cherished by a small band of admirers. Only recently has there been renewed awareness of the novelist who was such a vital presence in literary Greenwich Village from the 1920s to the 1960s. With these two volumes, The Library of America presents the best of Powell's quirky, often hilarious, sometimes deeply ...more
Hardcover, 1068 pages
Published September 10th 2001 by Library of America (first published 1930)
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Aug 08, 2010 Karen rated it it was amazing
Dawn Powell, part of Greenwich Village's literary scene from 1920 to 1960, is often compared to Dorothy Parker but in my mind she's superior. Their humor is similar and they both excel at lampooning the foibles of the rich, self-important, and lovelorn, but Powell is a little more subtle and underneath it all you feel an affection for most of her characters.

I just finished A Time to Be Born, which I think is her best work. Set in New York in 1941, it's the tale of the scheming social climber Ama
Barbara Wilson
Jan 20, 2010 Barbara Wilson rated it it was amazing
So glad I found Dawn Powell, she is what I always wanted Dorothy Parker to be.
Apr 25, 2013 Susan rated it really liked it
4/21--Finished "A Time to Be Born" three nights ago and I'm changing my rating to "Really Liked It." In this, her best-reviewed novel, Powell proves herself a talented satirist indeed. Following young Vicki Haven from the Midwest, where she leaves the no-good boyfriend who jilted her for her officemate, to New York, where she becomes a pawn of an old school friend (Amanda Keeler Evans) who has made it big by marrying rich, the novel is unsparing in its observations of both small and big city lif ...more
Sep 14, 2012 Ron added it
Over the past year, I've dipped into this volume to read the first four novels - now it's time for the fifth and final one. The Library of America has done a great job helping rescue authors from undeserved obscurity. Reading the books in succession, you see the changes in style and subject matter that moved from small town inhabitants in Powell's native Ohio east to writers, businessmen, and social climbers of New York between the wars. Along the way, Powell moves from depicting the loneliness ...more
Jim Leckband
Oct 06, 2011 Jim Leckband rated it really liked it
What happened to the author who wrote the early Midwestern novels "Dance Night" and "Come Back to Sorrento" to end up writing incredibly satirical novels like "Angels on Toast" and "A Time to be Born"?

New York happened.

In the Midwestern novels, I can see elements of the satire and characterization that bloomed in the later novels - but it must have been the sordid city lights that lit up the writing that came later. Her characters are rarely two-dimensional, even if they are exaggerated there is
Sep 01, 2016 Melanie rated it did not like it
Tried hard to make myself finish this book, but I just can't make myself read. And the characters are just not living in the real world and it's driving me crazy.
Timothy Cole
Mar 21, 2007 Timothy Cole rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: adult man or woman
Ms Powell offers a glimpse of humanity during the depression and war years, a look so well written that it's as fresh as if it were written just yesterday. I've often wondered if Steinbeck and Hemmingway were overrated, now, I know they are. Dawn died in near obscurity and definite poverty because she found it hard to compete in the world of male authors.
Aug 28, 2016 Julianna rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
It's a bit hard to rate a book that contains five novels. I didn't care for the first one at all, but liked the next one more, and the next ones even more. A Time To Be Born was my favorite, so funny and cutting. Definitely the characters and open ended endings of these stories leave me with mixed feelings..
Christopher Sutch
Oct 12, 2012 Christopher Sutch rated it really liked it
See my reviews for the individual novels in this collection.
Regina Stevens
Mar 04, 2016 Regina Stevens rated it it was amazing
Loved it.
Sherry Schwabacher
Sep 11, 2013 Sherry Schwabacher rated it liked it
Not my taste. I may try her later work.
May 22, 2009 Dianne rated it really liked it
My Home is Far Away is a lovely novel.
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Dawn Powell (November 28, 1896 – November 14, 1965) was an American writer of satirical novels and stories that manage to be barbed and sensitive at the same time.

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