The Old Man and Me

The Old Man and Me

by Elaine Dundy


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781590173176
Publisher: New York Review Books
Publication date: 06/16/2009
Series: NYRB Classics Series
Pages: 248
Sales rank: 544,161
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Elaine Dundy (1921–2008) grew up in New York City and Long Island. After graduating from Sweet Briar College in 1943 she worked as an actress in Paris and, later, London, where she met her future husband, the theater critic Kenneth Tynan. Dundy wrote three novels, The Dud Avocado (1958), The Old Man and Me (1964), and The Injured Party (1974); a play, My Place (produced in 1962); biographies of Elvis Presley and the actor Peter Finch; a study of Ferriday, Louisiana; and a memoir, Life Itself!

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Old Man and Me 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Marensr on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Elaine Dundy¿s The Old Man and Me is a whimsical slightly askew glimpse at expatriate life in London in the 1960¿s. It is also a sort of fantasy and satire on a type of modern female who is both liberated and bound and terribly flawed. Much like The Dud Avocado, her comic look at expatriates in France. The novel walks a line between believable fiction and a slightly exaggerated world seen through a prism of selfishness, competing motives and transatlantic misunderstanding. In both Dundy novels it feels like you might be getting a roman à clef and a bit of autobiography thrown in except that Dundy takes the novels to such splendid and ridiculous heights.Honey Flood has come to London to meet or accuse or seduce or murder middle-aged British literary critic, code-breaker and man about town, C.D. McKee and she might succeed in doing all of the above. Unlike some other New York Review of Books selections The Old Man and Me may seem like lighter fare, and it is. However, the comedy and shallowness of the characters should not undermine the funny, brutal and brilliant portrayal of selfishness and pretense amongst expatriates or the British better classes. She also manages that rare thing, finding a core of humanity in distinctly dislikable characters.It also offers a little linguistic glimpse into a moment in time, with Dundy¿s use of jazz slang in the cafes and descriptions of late-night, pill-popping, nightclub crawls. It feels like an old movie of the 1960¿s shot in that slightly sepia yet Technicolor film with brilliant location shots and fabulous clothing.Also of note, is Dundy¿s introduction to her own work and it is worth reading her musings looking back at the novel and the time period. It was a highly enjoyable read.
DieFledermaus on LibraryThing 5 months ago
The Old Man and Me is a funny, vivid look at a young American woman taking on London. Inevitable comparisons will be made with Dundy's other novel, The Dud Avocado, which featured another young American in Europe - this time in Paris. The first person narration is used to great effect in both books - probably the best part of the latter novel was Sally Jay Gorce's hilarious, twisted, biased take on all the dramatic and mundane events that occurred during her time abroad. Though The Dud Avocado was set in the 1950's, the social and romantic complications still felt fresh.The Old Man and Me has much of the same pleasures as The Dud Avocado, but the main character is somewhat more complex. While Sally Jay was your typical enthusiastic American college grad who wants to find herself and see the world in Paris, Honey Flood uses the innocent American stereotype as a cover for more sinister intentions. Sally Jay makes plenty of mistakes, but most can be excused by ignorance, carelessness, youth in general. Honey Flood has a plan, which makes her much more desperate - though she has to hide the desperation under a pleasant facade. She's much more cynical, a characteristic that she fails to hide, but is constantly surprising herself by having genuine emotions. Honey's goal in London is to land in the set of the famous C.D. McKee and she doesn't mind using people to get what she wants. Her quest takes her among the slumming rich, the well-heeled crazies and bar-hopping druggies. Some of the characters are almost Dickensian in their monomanias, but this is easily accepted, since they're described from Honey's POV. Again, the narrator's sarcastic take on the city and its inhabitants carries the novel, even with the occasional too-coincidental occurrences. And unlike the Dud Avocado, I was not disappointed at the end - there was no false happiness, but something very appropriate for the tone of the novel.
Kasthu on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I¿ll be honest and say that I couldn¿t finish this book. The narrator in this novel is just another Sally Jay Gorce, in a different city, older but certainly no wiser. And since I found Sally Jay to be annoying, it stand to reason that I¿d find Honey Flood annoying, too. I suppose this book was risqué when it came out, but now it just seems retro. Don¿t waste your time.
scohva on LibraryThing 5 months ago
In the introduction, Dundy talks about how one has to be either a monster or a doormat. The primary plot concerns a young American woman trying to fully embrace her monster side in order to get what she believes is her right. The differences between British/American cultures and youth/age are also discussed throughout the book. It was interesting to see in the early '60s how little Great Britain had changed from earlier in the century. For the most, part it seemed like I could have been reading a novel that took place in the interwar period. The book was enjoyable, and had shifts of tones that were abrupt but effective. Certainly not as charming as The Dud Avocado, but still a good read.
carlym on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I LOVED this book. "Honey Flood" is an American girl who comes to London to seduce her quasi-stepfather, C.D. McKee--the man who married her stepmother after her father died and got all her father's money after her stepmother also died. She puts on at least one personality (and a name) to become the sort of girl who can catch an older man. For me, though, the plot wasn't that important; it was the writing that kept me reading. Dundy is a fantastic writer. Everything is just a little over the top but not so much that the book became ridiculous. She has Honey say and think the most unexpected things, or at least expected things in unexpected words. The book is funny, not desperate or depressing, despite the plot, and Honey is likeable, despite her underhanded approach. For that matter, C.D. is likeable, despite being a dirty old man. I was not ready for this book to end. I'll definitely be reading The Dud Avocado soon.
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