#BOOK ë Parties ä eBook or E-pub free

review to follow I picked this book up from an old theater sale when drunken conversational passages caught my eye As someone who s never lived in NY, it does a spot on job of portraying a cut of restless NY society The protagonists are stumble from party to party from Ny to Europe and back with lapses of introspection, but they re not to be wrapped and delivered in a tidy package It s amusing, frothy, with darker under currents and clever observations a sauce for the main dish. #BOOK ⚝ Parties Ý Carl Van Vechten s famed satirical portrait of upper bohem New Yorkers and Harlem jazz clubs David Westlake has killed someone, and his wife, so she herself reports, has committed suicide Hyperbole, the reader quickly perceives, is the common language of these sozzled socialites who spend their nights in Harlem speakeasies and their days in drunken gossip But people actually do die in this comic novel, and beneath their forgetfulness is an emptiness and longing as deep as that of Hemingway s lost generation In the vein of early Waugh, though without the depth but also without the hatred of pleasure Van Vechten had a journalist s eye for detail and great ear for idiom, though his characters aren t really differentiated That may have been the point Odd that a novel that takes place in NY over 1929 30 only touches upon the stock market crash, but I suppose that for much of the rich, it didn t really matter Likewise, though the characters all love Harlem, they listen almost exclusively to classic In the vein of early Waugh, though without the depth but also without the hatred of pleasure Van Vechten had a journalist s eye for detail and great ear for idiom, though his characters aren t really differentiated That may have been the point Odd that a novel that takes place in NY over 1929 30 only touches upon the stock market crash, but I suppose that for much of the rich, it didn t really matter Likewise, though the characters all love Harlem, they listen almost exclusively to classical music I m not sure if this isan honest reflection of the times or of Van Vechten, who was a classical music critic and afro fetishist How does one put that politely I suppose one doesn t Read Chester Himes Pinktoes for some thinly veiled mockery Still, likeably screwball, often very funny, and a heart usually in the right place Perhaps if Van Vechten didn t feel the need to churn out a book a year he would have had somethingsubstantial to say As it is, he burnt out this was his last novel, though he d live another quarter century This is a very odd little book While some of the characters are sort of humorous, I m not sure that this book has much of a point. Assorted cast of well to do New Yorkers spend their days and nights together drinking a really insane amount of alcohol during Prohibition, gossiping, attending parties and drinking Did I mention the drinking A roller coaster ride of a book The impression Carl Van Vechten is trying to give of New Yorkers in the 20s is a bit heavy handed it s no Vile Bodies but I m reading it because of Van Vechten s renowned career as a critic and art collector. Unreadable A hilarious and poignant ride through the end of the1920s in which the duo, David Rilda, are stand insfor Scott Zelda David tells his wife that he hasto get away from what it is that makes us hate and loveand drink A black clairvoyant stuns their pal Hamish, asub for CVV You don t know where you are, or who you are or what you are Others in the alcoholic cocaine sniffing circus, which foreshadows Warhol s Factory beauties, include movie star Midnight Blue who never allows anything A hilarious and poignant ride through the end of the1920s in which the duo, David Rilda, are stand insfor Scott Zelda David tells his wife that he hasto get away from what it is that makes us hate and loveand drink A black clairvoyant stuns their pal Hamish, asub for CVV You don t know where you are, or who you are or what you are Others in the alcoholic cocaine sniffing circus, which foreshadows Warhol s Factory beauties, include movie star Midnight Blue who never allows anything but silk and flesh to touch her body and a homeless teen a drug addicted bootlegger s apprentice who ll do anything for David Compulsive hostess Rosalie gives the worst parties but knows New Yorkers will keep coming, particularly if they are uninvited The drinking and infidelities and parties and bummingaround NYC Harlem go on all night amid witticisms, fluid sexual dalliances and death The days are spent nursing hangovers and mixing sidecars At the finale party, almost a wake, the players lift glasses high and agree, to make the worst of it CVVs best, published as the stock market crashed, met w hostile critics who did not perceive that it was his obit for the decade A scope of human nature yesterday today His shimmering novel draws blood A very modern black comedy Van Vechten and his wife were people who liked to party Despite prohibition there was plenty of booze, and the despite racist attitudes of their time their parties were multicultural, Van Vechten being a champion of the Harlem Renaissanse and knowing a number of the group personally.Given this, it would seem that this novel is grounded in personal experience and possibly though I dont know Van Vechtens life that well partly autobiographical The action revolves around a cast of bright but dr Van Vechten and his wife were people who liked to party Despite prohibition there was plenty of booze, and the despite racist attitudes of their time their parties were multicultural, Van Vechten being a champion of the Harlem Renaissanse and knowing a number of the group personally.Given this, it would seem that this novel is grounded in personal experience and possibly though I dont know Van Vechtens life that well partly autobiographical The action revolves around a cast of bright but drunk young things who flit from party to party, row, talk rubbish, make up, row again etc etc The life and soul of the scene is David Westlake who is permanently in a sort of alcoholic daze and permanently at odds with his wife Rilda who is in a similar state He decides he needs to break this cycle to find out if they really love each or not and the novel progresses from there.As the book is something of a social satire of that set most of the characters are vain, shallow and generally unlikable with the exception of a 70 year old German woman, recently arrived in the US who is anxious to enter the decadent set and does so with gusto She provides much of the humour and humanity in the novel, for really much of it is quite bleak.The reader has to struggle through quite a bit of this bleakness tedium as the other characters bicker amongst themselves I felt and I am not a big drinker a bit like the designated driver at a party where everyone else is trashed and you have to listen to them ramble on and on and on , a bit like listening to people relating their dull dreams Perhaps if I wassuitably enhanced while reading it it also snows quite a lot it would befun A bigger problem for me is that the plot separates into two strands and although I see why it was done, I felt that it was too drastic a move on the authors part and that he could have said what he wanted without doing so and thus hold the novel together better It also seems as if he is trying a bit too hard to show his educated bohemian credentials as he uses this strand to reference music, operas, and plays, Van Vechten was also an arts critic.But here are bits about the book I like a lot, the aimless drifting around from place to place is well done, some of the dialogue and especially a scene where they go to a Harlem nightclub to witness the latest dance craze, the Lindy Hop The latter is one of the best evocations of what one might romantically imagine the roaring 20 s to have been like that I have read and I m surprised it doesn t appear in those themed anthology books titled something like writings from the 20 s.From the nightclub point on the book finds its ahem feet again and really takes off, but by then it is too late for me as we are into the last third of the novel It s a real shame as this section is Van Vechten at his best and shows what the book could have been Another popular forgotten author of the period, Vicki Baum, described herself as a first rate second rate writer and I think that applies to Van Vechten as well Perhaps my problem is that I started by accident with the excellent The Blind Bow Boy and was thus doomed to disappointment expecting the others to be as good as that This book is fun at times but if you only intend to read one Van Vechten then begin with that instead