The Manhattan Girls: A Novel of Dorothy Parker and Her Friends

The Manhattan Girls: A Novel of Dorothy Parker and Her Friends Audible Audiobook – Unabridged

4.1 out of 5 stars 179 ratings

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Product details

Listening Length 10 hours and 44 minutes
Author Gill Paul
Narrator Lisa Flanagan
Audible.ca Release Date August 16 2022
Publisher HarperAudio
Program Type Audiobook
Version Unabridged
Language English
ASIN B09M99YKB3
Best Sellers Rank #53,142 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals)
#166 in Friendship Fiction
#1,863 in Women's Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#3,579 in Historical Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)

Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5
179 global ratings

Top reviews from Canada

Reviewed in Canada on August 18, 2022
Reviewed in Canada on August 18, 2022
Reviewed in Canada on August 18, 2022

Top reviews from other countries

V. O'Regan
5.0 out of 5 stars Dazzling work of historical biographical fiction set In 1920s New York City
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 24, 2022
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SHEILA FISH
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ,,
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 4, 2022
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Matt Mansfield
4.0 out of 5 stars The Gotham Code Breakers
Reviewed in the United States on September 10, 2022
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Gotham Code Breakers
Reviewed in the United States on September 10, 2022
To be young, ambitious living in Manhattan and the talk of the town! Sitting side-by-side nightly with the literary wits of the day who dubbed themselves the “Vicious Circle” at the Algonquin Hotel Round Table on West 45th Street. A vision one hundred years later still evoking a magical period, maybe a decade long, of special brilliance and notoriety.

But was it a Jazz Age Camelot?

Gill Paul’s 2022 “The Manhattan Girls: A Novel of Dorothy Parker and Her Friends” explores this reputation through a four-in-hand approach for its plot progress. She evenly rotates her imagined story through the white spaces of four real women from the era and their emotional struggles to grow and succeed with their ambitions, domestic and professional:

• Best known perhaps, Dorothy Parker with her incisive wit and trim writing
• Jane Grant, first female reporter for The New York Times and resilient partner, lover and one-time wife of Harold Ross during the launch of The New Yorker magazine
• Resourceful, supportive Conde Nast advertising executive, Margaret “Peggy” Leech, exploring her own writing capabilities
• Beautiful, talented, sometimes mysterious Winifred Lenihan realizing early success on the Broadway stage with its own pitfalls and pratfalls

These four perspectives are united into a single focus on how women with potential helped each other and coped with finding their paths in a fiercely competitive male-dominated metropolis despite the August 1920 certification of the Nineteenth Amendment, in effect, empowering the rights of women to vote.

The milieu of the “Gonk”, the Algonquin nickname, was overshadowed by the bigwig male competitors such as Alec Wolcott, Marc Connelly, George Kaufman and those occasional attendees like Bob Benchley, Harpo Marx, Robert Sherwood, exchanging sharp witticisms with sometimes not-so-subtle edge. It seemed like no place for a lady.

Yet, hang in and survive these four talented women did. Their early 1920s bond is formed through a mutual decision to host their own bridge club for learning the game and staying in touch. Thereafter, their stories diverge, reunite and reach a resting place toward decade’s end.

The insights of each’s experience are perhaps less familiar than legend would have: Parker is more neurotic in this portrayal; Grant challenged but amazingly resilient; Leech comforting and understated about her skills; the younger Lenihan an exceptional talent and with beauty attracting unwanted overtures.

Paul’s approach is engaging, forthright, sometimes melodramatic in a 1930s style, and well-paced though not driving in intensity, except for Lenihan’s challenges and Parker’s manic swings.

For additional familiarity with the Gotham atmosphere of this period, though set a little later, consider St Clair McKelway’s “Reporting from Wit’s End” collection of stories and articles he wrote for The New Yorker magazine from the 1930s onward and Amor Towles’ more recent novel, “The Rules of Civility”.

Even after a century, the ghosts of the Round Table inspire retelling of their derring-do.

(Here are links to my Amazon posted reviews for books related to this period:

Amor Towles’ 2011 “Rules of Civility”: https://www.amazon.com/review/R1MSCBMD67313I/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B004IYJDVG

St Clair McKelway’s 2010 collection of stories and articles “Reporting at Wit’s End: Tales from The New Yorker”: https://www.amazon.com/review/R1055Z5E9OP60Y/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8)
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Kindle Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been so much more
Reviewed in the United States on September 1, 2022
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2 people found this helpful
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Francesca D
5.0 out of 5 stars ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIC!
Reviewed in the United States on September 27, 2022
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