Meister casts Dorothy Parker as a blithe spirit in her fanciful third novel (after The Other Life). Though movie critic Violet Epps has become famous for her scathing no-holds-barred wit, off the page, Violet is “held captive by her own timidity”; she can’t seem to dump her freeloading boyfriend, her assistant walks all over her, and she rarely accepts social invitations. Worst of all, this shyness has resulted in her being denied temporary custody of her recently orphaned 13-year-old niece, just when the girl needs her “Aunt V” the most. A fateful dinner at the Algonquin Hotel (one-time Parker hangout) ends with Violet becoming haunted by the spirit of her greatest influence. The acid-tongued, gin-swilling ghost immediately sets to meddling in Violet’s affairs, in an attempt to help her grow a backbone. With Parker’s help, Violet takes risks at work, connects with a new man, and finds the courage to make an impassioned plea for custody of her niece. With Violet’s help, Parker’s spirit may finally find peace. Meister skillfully translates the rapier-like wit of the Algonquin Round Table to modern-day New York. There are no shocking twists, but pathos, nuanced characters, plenty of rapid-fire one-liners, and a heart-rending denouement. Agent: Andrea Cirillo, the Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Feb.)
"Magical fun.” —Booklist
“[Meister] reveals the pathos behind the pith, and she instructs readers about the enduring legacy of a writer who produced not just ‘scathing reviews, clever jokes, quotable poetry, and insightful short stories’ but also championed social causes. Classic Parker zingers sprinkled throughout the novel add sparkle.”—Washington Post
"Meister honors Dorothy Parker, her still-fresh political convictions, and her body of witty, insightful work in this very nice literary romp.... Parker was the perfect New Yorker: sharp, witty and eminently quotable. And it is clear that Meister had a lot of responsible fun paying tribute to her."—Bookreporter
"Meister skillfully translates the rapier-like wit of the Algonquin Round Table to modern-day New York ... [with] pathos, nuanced characters, plenty of rapid-fire one-liners, and a heart-rending denouement."—Publishers Weekly
"This funny yet tender homage...resurrects the iconic wit of the literary legend...Breezy and engaging...complete with Parkeresque banter."—Library Journal
"Farewell, Dorothy Parker is a delightful haunting. How wonderful to have the renowned wit—America's wisegirl—as resident ghost and adviser.... Ellen Meister's new novel is smart and fun."—Susan Isaacs, New York Times bestselling author of As Husbands Go
"Gone four decades and still missed, Dorothy Parker now has a starring role in Ellen Meister’s delicious new novel. No doubt Mrs. Parker, wherever she is, must be smiling." —Marion Meade, author of Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell Is This?
"In Farewell, Dorothy Parker, Ellen Meister provides refreshing insight into Mrs. Parker as a wit, civil rights advocate, and writer. Both of this bitchin' novel's main characters—Violet and Dorothy—can visit me any time."—Mark Ebner, New York Times bestselling author of Hollywood, Interrupted
"What bliss to be in the company of a reimagined Dorothy Parker! Ellen Meister's wonderful novel delivers the wit, ingenuity and elegiac sass worthy of the Algonquin Table's most quoted member. Long live Dorothy Parker and her zingers, resurrected so winningly in these pages."
—Elinor Lipman author of The Family Man
The ghost of the eponymous 20th-century wit visits a present-day movie reviewer who lacks Parker's backbone in this mix of comedy and tear-jerker from Meister (The Other Life, 2011, etc.). Violet displays a pungent wit as a writer of reviews, but in her personal life, she's a wimp, and her paralyzing anxiety may cost her. After the death of her older sister and son-in-law in a car accident, Violet is in a custody battle for her 13-year-old niece, Delaney. Delaney wants to live with Violet, not her obnoxious grandparents, but Violet has recently failed to stand up for herself in front of the judge. She's also finding it difficult to break up with a boyfriend she actively dislikes. Then, she visits the Algonquin Hotel and ends up walking out with a guest book signed by all the literary luminaries. When she opens the books, she releases the spirit of Dorothy Parker, who has chosen not to follow "the white light," preferring to hang around drinking and making clever witticisms--her biographical information is awkwardly inserted into the story, clearly meant to be an homage to her talent and spirit. Dorothy befriends Violet, giving her advice and occasionally literally taking over her body, causing Violet to behave uncharacteristically to say the least. Soon, Violet has dumped the boyfriend and come on strong to Michael, the African-American ex-Marine Kung Fu trainer she has a secret crush on. She also refuses to allow herself to be intimidated by the editorial assistant who has edited her work without permission. And she decides to fight harder for Delaney. But can Dorothy's helpfulness go too far? As self-empowerment romantic comedies go, this perfectly pleasant one hits all the predictable marks.