Author(s): Elaine Dundy; Rachel Cooke (Introduction by)
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?
Books included in the VMC 40th anniversary series include: Frost in May by Antonia White; The Collected Stories of Grace Paley; Fire from Heaven by Mary Renault; The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter; The Weather in the Streets by Rosamond Lehmann; Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith; The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West; Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; Heartburn by Nora Ephron; The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy; Memento Mori by Muriel Spark; A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor; and Faces in the Water by Janet Frame
SUNDAY TIMES ** 'Both funny and true * EVENING STANDARD * **'A champagne cocktail ... Rich, invigorating, and deceptively simple to the taste ... One falls for Sally Jay Gorce from a great height... * OBSERVER *** 'As delightful and delicate an examination of how it is to be twenty and in love and in Paris as I've ever read' * I had to tell someone how much I enjoyed The Dud Avocado. It made me laugh, scream, and guffaw (which, incidentally, is a great name for a law firm). -- Groucho Marx As delightful and delicate an examination of how it is to be twenty and in love and in Paris as I've ever read * Sunday Times * A champagne cocktail ... Rich, invigorating, and deceptively simple to the taste ... One falls for Sally Jay Gorce from a great height from the first sentence * Observer *
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.