Letty FoxHer Luck
by Christina Stead, introduction by Tim Parks
One hot night last spring, after waiting fruitlessly for a call from my then lover, with whom I had quarreled the same afternoon, and finding one of my black moods upon me, I flung out of my lonely room on the ninth floor (unlucky number) in a hotel in lower Fifth Avenue and rushed into the streets of the Village, feeling bad.
So begins Letty Fox’s own story, a comic extravaganza in which she tells about the crazy circus of her early life; about her moping mother, absent father, and two impossible sisters; about work and play, sex and men, and the seemingly unending search for a lasting relationship. This vast Flemish canvas of a novel, full of strikingly realistic likenesses and unforgettable grotesques, is a major work by one of the outstanding novelists of the twentieth century.
No wonder [Stead's] work has reminded many of Tolstoy, Ibsen, Joyce—any tag to signify that the reader is offered breadth of vision and honest depth of enjoyment, with neither sacrificed to the other...Her works bridge the gap between that humanistic preoccupation with character which the novel is said to have lost in the past, and that modern spirit which any novel worthy of its time must have. What her books teach us is that wisdom is the novelist's ultimate requirement.
— The New York Times Book Review
[Christina Stead] is really marvelous. She gropes here, she gropes there, she introduces this subject and that subject, seems to talk to no purpose—talk and talk! Then suddenly, with a wild outburst, she understands something. A discovery has been made.
— Saul Bellow