Price: U.S. $14.95
Carl Van Vechten
ISBN: 1-55713-029-9, Pages: 260
A Sun & Moon title.
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Carl Van Vechten's famed satirical portrait of wealthy New Yorkers and Harlem jazz clubs is reprinted in the prestigious Sun & Moon Classics series. 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 brain-dead socialites, who spend their nights in Harlem speakeasies and their days in drunken gossip. But people actually do die in this hilarious novel, and beneath their intentional forgetfulness is an emptiness and longing as deep as that of Hemingway's "lost generation." Only Van Vechten, who himself introduced most of white New York to the Harlem jazz world, allows neither readers nor himself any pity as he spoofs white society's endless bouts of drunken parties and utter boredom.
Born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Carl Van Vechten became one of the leading New York journalists, hiring figures such as Djuna Barnes for arts coverage in the New York Press, where he was art critic. In the 1930s he befriended Gertrude Stein, and, after her death, edited and introduced much of her writing.