UpliftingSix NYRB Classics
Wit, warmth, and whimsy abound in these six books. Sally Jay Gorce, the charmingly chaotic aspiring actress who is the voice of Elaine Dundy’s The Dud Avocado, makes her way from the U.S. to France in the 1950s, determined to take Paris by storm. Wickedly funny and refreshingly honest, she’s making the most of the city of lights and definitely not practicing any social distancing. Meanwhile, in Elizabeth von Arnim’s delightful comedy of errors The Enchanted April, four women, complete strangers to one another, must learn to get along as they rent a medieval castle on the gorgeous Italian coastline.
L.A. “It girl” Eve Babitz takes us on a tour through her stomping grounds in Eve’s Hollywood, exploring the city’s wealth of subcultures in a collection of vignettes full of shrewd insight and zest for life. (“You can feel the wind in your hair,” writes Dwight Garner of The New York Times.) Raymond Kennedy’s Ride a Cockhorse is its own wild ride: a cutting satire of the banking industry starring Frances Fitzgibbons, a mild-mannered loan officer who wakes one day with a raging libido and lust for power.
The sly, gentle stories of Kenji Miyazawa, collected in Once and Forever, take joy in the natural world and inspiration from Japanese folklore. His fables offer a welcome escape, complete with talking acorns, foxes in suits, and magical woodlands. And from Tove Jansson of Moomin fame comes The Summer Book: the tale of a six-year-old girl and her grandmother bonding on an island in the Gulf of Finland, told with stunning tenderness.