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Farewell, Dorothy Parker (A Dorothy Parker Novel)

Ellen Meister


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Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (2/20/2013)
MP3 CD (3/1/2013)
Compact Disc (3/1/2013)
Hardcover (2/21/2013)
Compact Disc (2/26/2013)


When it comes to movie reviews, critic Violet Epps is a powerhouse voice. But that’s only because she’s learned to channel her literary hero Dorothy Parker, the most celebrated and scathing wit of the twentieth century. If only Violet could summon that kind of strength in her personal life.

Violet visits the Algonquin Hotel in an attempt to find inspiration from the hallowed dining room where Dorothy Parker and so many other famous writers of the 1920s traded barbs, but she gets more than she bargained for when Parker’s feisty spirit rematerializes. An irreverent ghost with problems of her own—including a refusal to cross over to the afterlife—Mrs. Parker helps Violet face her fears, becoming in turn mentor and tormentor…and ultimately, friend.


Praise For Farewell, Dorothy Parker (A Dorothy Parker Novel)

"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

Berkley, 9780425264713, 368pp.

Publication Date: December 3, 2013

About the Author

Ellen Meister is the author of The Other Life, The Smart One, and Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA. She teaches creative writing at Hofstra University School of Continuing Education and runs an online group where she mentors aspiring women authors.

Conversation Starters from

Violet relies on Mrs. Parker to help her find her voice outside of her writing. Discuss the concept of “finding your voice.” Is this solely the idea of speaking up, or is there more to it than that?

At the opening of the story when Violet is trying to end her relationship with Carl, it is clear that she needs to be able to stand up to him but is unable to do so. Is her ability to speak up more, less, or as important once she starts dating the far less pushy Michael?

Outside of the custody battle, in what ways is it important for Violet to find her voice for her niece, Delaney? How about for herself?

Dorothy Parker’s style of snappy comeback is a hallmark of American culture. She was the embodiment of “having a voice,” the very thing Violet struggles with most. In what ways is this type of voice an American ideal? In what ways is it transcendent of American culture?

Beyond “finding her voice,” in what ways is Mrs. Parker the perfect mentor for Violet? In what ways is Violet the perfect protégé for Mrs. Parker? Discuss some of the other female-mentorship relationships present in Farewell, Dorothy Parker.

Some of the minor characters—such as Andi, Sandra, Malcolm, and even Ivy—have antagonistic roles in this novel. Do you find them wholly unsympathetic, or is there reason to consider these characters both good and bad? Does your opinion about them change throughout the book?

Mrs. Parker makes the controversial decision to take over Violet and sleep with Michael Do you think she was acting altruistically for Violet’s benefit, or selfishly for her own gratification? Does it matter?

What would you identify as the turning point for Mrs. Parker that allowed her to finally move on?

Violet has both an inner journey (overcoming her timidity) and outer journey (gaining custody of her niece). Does the intersection of these threads in the courtroom scene provide any additional insight into Violet?