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THE DUD AVOCADO gained instant cult status on first publication and remains a timeless portrait of a woman hellbent on living. It is, as the GUARDIAN observes, 'one of the best novels about growing up fast'. Sally Jay Gorce is a woman with a mission. It's the 1950s, she's young, and she's in Paris. Having dyed her hair pink, she wears evening dresses in the daytime and vows to go native in a way not even the natives can manage. Embarking on an educational programme that includes an affair with a married man (which fizzles out when she realises he's single and wants to marry her); nights in cabarets and jazz clubs in the company of assorted "citizens of the world"; an entanglement with a charming psychopath; and a bit part in a film financed by a famous matador. But an education like this doesn't come cheap. Will our heroine be forced back to the States to fulfill her destiny as a librarian, or can she keep up her whirlwind Parisian existence?

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781853815812
ISBN-10: 1853815810
Format: Paperback
(162mm x 199mm x 22mm)
Pages: 336
Imprint: Virago Press Ltd
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 26-Aug-1993
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

UK Kirkus Review » A young American loose in Paris in 1958 is caught up in a heady whirl of affairs, champagne cocktails, outrageous evening frocks and, before she knows it, a plot of sinister implications. As a funny-sad rites-of-passage story, this is up there with Catcher in the Rye, and in Sally Jay Gorce, Dundy gave the 20th century one of its most memorable heroines. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » A junior sophisticate, in her tingling pursuit of people, places and upper case Experience provides a diverting first novel, which for all its purposeful naivete and scattered trivia is also deceptively clever. Wide-eyed and willing, Sally Jay begins her ambulatory amatory career ("soul searching or rather tail chasing") in Paris where first there is Teddy, a diplomat and encumbered- he has a wife and a mistress. Bypassing Teddy, for Larry, who is presumably putting on one-act avant garde plays and offers her a chance in the Theatre, she is ultimately to learn that he is engaged in some below-the-belt sidelines: he pimps, he steals her passport- and sells it to a girl he has corrupted. A fortnight with Larry, and his girl Missy, and Bax- an Outdoor Boy with few indoor ideas, is dismal- and loses her Jim Breit who had wanted to marry her. She returns to Paris- disillusioned- and then New York where Maximilian Ramage, a Hungarian photographer, retrieves her from a lonely life as a librarian, whirls her off to Japan ?? his wife.... "So green, so eternally green", this innocent abroad has her appeal and a gamine enfant-terriblism which the publishers (of Bonjour Tristesse) will do their best to extend to a wide audience. They may very well succeed; it is a disconcerting and disarming entertainment. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Elaine Dundy

Elaine Dundy was born and raised in New York. As an actress, she worked in Paris and London, where she met her husband, the late Kenneth Tynan. THE DUD AVOCADO was her semi-autobiographical first novel, based on the year she spent in Paris. She died in April 2008.

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