This book is very funny. It’s also the kind of book that if the first page does not work for you, you should stop immediately.
It begins with an authorial lamentation against the onset of World War II because of the ways that a momentously life-changing event like the war would drown out the lives of the small people, especially of young women like the co-protagonist of this novel, an up and coming player in the New York literary scene.
This lamentation is interesting in a lot of ways because it previews and undercuts the kinds of things that might be said about this novel by critics. And, it shares an anxiety I have about books written during wartime, that are not expressly about wartime.
But the books about war written during that war often serve as jingoistic nonsense that push forward narratives of destruction.
This book doesn’t buy it. It’s not an anti-war book, but it’s a reminder of the kinds of pettiness and smallness a war like World War II is trying to protect.
Anyway, this is a very funny book that lampoons a kind of both figure of a lady about town and established novelist. This lampooning helps to highlight how pulled away from the war the US was in our own country even if we were deeply involved. This is to cement the ways in which the US meddles in foreign affairs while costing us nothing at home except labor and resources (as opposed to civilian deaths and cities and landscapes).