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Complete Stories (Penguin Classics) Paperback – December 31, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0142437216 ISBN-10: 0142437212 Edition: First edition.

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Complete Stories (Penguin Classics) + Complete Poems (Penguin Classics) + The Portable Dorothy Parker (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; First edition. edition (December 31, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142437212
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142437216
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #241,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Perhaps it was a disservice to collect all of Parker's stories in one place. Despite insistence to the contrary in a reasoned but ultimately unconvincing introduction by Regina Barreca, Parker wrote decently about the same things over and over and over. This volume includes 13 stories and nine sketches which were previously uncollected, but they blend right in with the other material on drinking and divorce among those of a certain class. Parker's stories tend to float in the shallow end of the literary pool. It's not that any individual piece is of poor quality, it's just that, collectively, the the sameness becomes unbearable. Her humor, in particular, strikes the same note every time. A quick run-through of several plots exhibits this perfectly: two women insincerely discuss an impending divorce; a couple gets drunk in preparation for becoming teetotalers the next day. The nine sketches included here are more of the same, minus any actual plot. Descriptions such as "Lloyd wears washable neckties," are amusing, but go no further. It is ironic that feminist critics are attempting to resurrect Parker, since her writing makes her disdain for her own sex perfectly clear: she feels free to disparage these women for whom marriage and dinner parties are everything, but she always goes for the easy laugh at their expense rather than explore the larger context that forced them into such rigid roles.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Now remembered almost soley as the lone female member of the New York writers' group known as the Algonquin Round Table, Parker was one of the most popular and published writers of the interwar years whose stories and light verse were eagerly sought by the best magazines. Although widely represented in short story anthologies, Parker's entire corpus of stories has never been collected in a single volume: editor Breese includes 13 stories and nine "sketches" not previously anthologized. Read as a collection, however, the famous sardonic wit becomes too intrusive, and similarities of plot and character are annoyingly apparent. Reliance on heavy social drinking as a staple of her plots is less humorous to Nineties readers, and some of Parker's ideas on the relationship between the sexes are equally dated. Still, many of the stories, such as the often reprinted "Big Blonde," are moving, and the whole volume is an unsettling portrait of the era. For all fiction and research collections.?Shelley Cox, Southern Illinois Univ., Carbondale
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Incredibly well done.
Humor Book Addict
Dorothy Parker is one of the greatest American authors of the 20th century.
Francis Assaf
It's tense, excrutiating, and very real.
Deborah Barchi

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Infovoyeur on August 23, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
And I thought I knew all of the short story writers who write good social satire, especially about the Battle of the Sexes. Do you like John Updike's dissonant couples the Maples? John Cheever's middle-class suburban sashayings? John O'Hara's accounts of evil-propelled mis-treatments and non-treatments? Ring Lardner's tales of hamfisted bunglings? Katherine Mansfield's dry-point etchings of looming males and tendril-like females?
To these I can now add Dorothy Parker--whom I discovered only last month after enjoying the above social-critics for decades. A sharp-tongued journalist, Parker wrote in New York City in the 1920's through the 1950's. She's a key addition to the "fruit salad" of these writers--call her a lime, perhaps--small, tart, acid but somehow quenching our thirst for the truth however tangy?
Parker precisely pinpoints interpersonal shipwrecks. Marriage is--what happens. Often it's like this:
In "New York to Detroit," on the telephone, a man mechanically shoves a desperate woman out of his life. The bad connection aids his "misunderstandings" of her frantic pleas.
In "Here We Are," a just-married couple travel by train to their New York City honeymoon hotel. But we see already the stress-fractures of immature overreactions, and how out of them starts to ooze the lava of hatred which will surely melt down (or burn out) the marriage soon.
In "Too Bad," women are perplexed, even astonished, that the Weldons separated. Such an ideal couple! Except Parker eavesdrops us into the couple's typical evening at home. Its genteel vacancy, polite non-communication, and quiet distancing tell the tale.
Is Parker too crude a caricaturist? Heavy on the satire, too bitter personally?
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Rob Lightner on December 27, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Mrs. Parker possessed a venom that incapacitated its victims with sheer brainy pleasure. Her stories are tight, sparse, and crunchy with wit--Oscar Wilde looks like Krusty the Klown in comparison. While some would complain that she rarely strays from critiquing the hypocrisies of the wealthy and powerful, it's hard to argue that there isn't enough material therein to fuel a thousand careers. Her work is essential reading for those of us who aren't perfectly at ease with the ways of the world but find ourselves coping with it anyway.
The Elaine Stritch readings of seven of these stories are also tremendously entertaining and worthy of separate purchase. The delight of sitting in a darkened room, listening to a master actress reading Mrs. Parker, sipping from a tumbler of whiskey, must be experienced to be believed.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jacquie on February 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
Dorothy Parker is one of the great women writers of the twentieth century. Though her life was marred by alcoholism and rather poor choices, her biting, insightful stories are a window into the twenties and women in general. I read her stories whenever I've had a rough day and need a giggle.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By S. Hebbron on March 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
Dorothy Parker was a great writer and a great social observant who now gives us a clear window into the past. Her wit is biting and at it's best in this collection, favourite reads are for the individual to decide, however, for me, as well as cheering me up with her razor sharp observation and almost cruel wit. Parker also saddens me for her wit must have been based on the cynacism of one who viewed her life as overindulged and wasted by circumstance, as a wealthy woman and as a woman in her time. Reading her is alawys like laughing with a red hot tear in your eye, for her work is as much an insight into her soul as it is to her lifetime and lifestyle.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Humor Book Addict on December 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
Perhaps because it doesn't include some of Dorothy Parker's well-known, light-hearted poetry or journalism, this collection of short stories was darker than I expected. Some of what are considered Parker's classic short stories - such as "Big Blonde" and "A Telephone Call" - impressed me less than several other stories. "Mr. Durant," for example, is a story about abortion published in 1924 that gets around the censors of that day by not using the A word at all. Incredibly well done. In this book, at least, Parker's wit excels in the closing section of "sketches" rather than stories. "Our Tuesday Club" is an assemblage of character descriptions, rather than a narrative, and I regard it as a wonderful example of Parker's wit. Despite their age, most of the stories in this collection hold up well.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 12, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ms. Parker's collection of short stories are modern and funny. Many of the dialogues detailed in her works can still be heard uttered today between men and women.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Peter Cocchia on May 2, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Publishers Weekly: I will likely never read your magazine after reading your review of Dorothy Parker's Complete Stories. I had never really intended to--but now, after that awful, sophistic review of one of the best American short story writers of the 20th Century, I can be certain that the words you print hold absolutely no weight. How truly embarrassing for your publication.

Dorothy Parker: a phenomenally talented short story and verse writer, and one of the most powerful feminists of her time. She fought racism and sexism--unlike some of her contemporaries like Hemingway and Fitzgerald, who abetted it--and was one of few during the 20's and 30's to write about such taboo topics as abortion ("Mr. Durant"). In 1929, she won the first place O. Henry Award for her short story "Big Blonde," and her story, "Here We Are," has been duly collected in The Best American Short Stories of the Century, edited by John Updike. Also notable: her poetry collections Enough Rope and Sunset Gun were both bestsellers, an unprecedented accomplishment for poetry in general.
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