A regular discussion with Ginia Bellafante.
This being Valentine’s Day, I’d like to encourage everyone who hasn’t yet picked up Dawn Powell’s 1942 Manhattan comedy of manners, “A Time to Be Born,” to do so right away. Give it as a gift instead of chocolate or flowers or an Edible Arrangement.
The Big City Book club will be hosting an online discussion of the novel, which has a wicked love triangle at its center, next Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 21, from 1 to 4 p.m. and we’re thrilled to have the author Candace Bushnell joining us for the conversation. We thought Ms. Bushnell was the ideal co-host for a talk about a book that truly feels like a precursor to “Sex and the City,” the franchise she created in the ’90s with her column in The New York Observer.
Powell’s book steers us through the lives of women who come to New York from the hinterlands, for love, money, opportunity and a good time. One, Amanda Keeler Evans, a figure based on Clare Boothe Luce, is a vapid and conniving social climber who marries a newspaper baron to set her own writing career afoot. The other, Vicky Haven is a victim of Amanda’s social and romantic manipulations. Few books have so bitingly and energetically captured the hunger for status and success that animate the city and enrage so many.
Gore Vidal was a huge fan of Powell’s and did much to introduce her to new readers in recent times. Read what he has to say about her here. And join us on the 21st.