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Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Classics
ISBN: 9781590172322
Pages: 280
Publication Date: June 5, 2007

The Dud Avocado

by Elaine Dundy, introduction by Terry Teachout

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With a new afterword by the author

The Dud Avocado follows the romantic and comedic adventures of a young American who heads overseas to conquer Paris in the late 1950s. Edith Wharton and Henry James wrote about the American girl abroad, but it was Elaine Dundy’s Sally Jay Gorce who told us what she was really thinking. Charming, sexy, and hilarious, The Dud Avocado gained instant cult status when it was first published and it remains a timeless portrait of a woman hell-bent on living.

Download the Reading Group Guide for The Dud Avocado. by Elaine Dundy, introduction by Terry Teachout


The Dud Avocado opens with our beautiful and hapless heroine—imagine the panache of Holly Golightly crossed with the naive knowingness of Holden Caulfield—wandering one September morning through Paris in an evening dress.
Boston Globe

Now, this favorite has been re—issued yet again, with a gorgeous black and white nude on the cover. Fair enough, for here is a book primarily about sex and style...few writers ever soared so high and so delightfully.
Los Angeles Times

Before Bridget Jones, deeply sweet and recklessly intimate Sally Jay Gorce trolled for love (Parisian style) in novelist (and sometime wife of theater critic Kenneth Tynan) Elaine Dundy's The Dud Avocado, a madcap read from 1958 that's finally back in print in the United States.
O, The Oprah Magazine

One of the funniest books I've ever read; it should be subtitled Daisy Miller's Revenge.
— Gore Vidal

Take one zippy, curious, 21-year-old American named Sally Jay, just out of college. Drop her in the middle of Paris' Left Bank. Add an Italian diplomat, an American theatrical director , a couple of painters and a white slave trader. Mix until all bubbles. The result: a delightful few hours of sparkling reading entertainment. Summing up: Froth and frolic.

American goes to some big city with dreams of conquest, hilarity ensues. Dundy's 1958 novel (which had a huge fan in Groucho Marx) is pretty much the best and funniest example of that whole genre.
—Jason Diamond, Flavorwire