Monday, August 5, 2019

Parker: Selected Stories by Dorothy Parker

Listening to this audiobook made me crave a gin rickey and a good cry while hiding behind the mammoth ostrich feathers of my best hat, slumped in a corner table of a grubby speakeasy. It's a mood.

David Sedaris called Parker: Selected Stories by Dorothy Parker (as read by legendary Broadway star Elaine Stritch) "one of the greatest audiobooks ever." In this June 2018 interview for Audible Range he also noted: "Elaine Stritch is the perfect person to read Dorothy Parker, and she understands those stories perfectly."

At the time, this recording was only available on cassette, having never been released on CD or digital. However, a recommendation from Sedaris being the stuff of stardust and magic, two months later Audible offered it for download. As audiobook recommendations go, it doesn't get much better than that. So I bought it. Now and then I listened while folding laundry or running errands, dipping in intermittently.

Elaine Stritch reads this like only she could, and her narration is a treat. (Not familiar with her? Check out the documentary Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me on Hulu.) The insightful stories look at relationships and people with a clear and cutting eye as they serve up grim glimpses of love (or lack of it), marriage and loneliness.

I listened to a few stories but finally gave in, unfinished. It fell in this strange category for me of something that is good in many ways, but I just didn't want to continue. Have you ever liked something but didn't want to finish? Or changed the station when a song you like is on the radio because you're just not in the mood for it? That's how I felt. I think the old-fashioned tales of unhappy characters only kept me interested so far. It got, dare I say it, boring.

Many people would love this, and others probably wouldn't finish the first chapter. Which category are you? Only one way to find out ...

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