Synopses & Reviews
What if inspiration came to visit...and wouldn't leave?
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 20th century.
If only Violet could summon that kind of courage in her personal life.
Determined to defeat her social anxiety, Violet visits the Algonquin Hotel to pull strength 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 Dorothy Parker's feisty spirit rematerializes from an ancient guestbook and hitches a ride onto her life.
Violet is shocked and thrilled to be face-to-face with her idol, but when the gin-swilling writer takes up residence in her home and grows pricklier and more outspoken by the day, the timid movie critic is pushed to her limit. With her job threatened, her new relationship in tatters, and the custody fight for her orphaned niece in jeopardy, Violet is forced to face her fears ...and she makes sure Mrs. Parker does the same.
Wickedly funny and surprisingly poignant, Farewell, Dorothy Parker perfectly re-imagines one of America's most iconic voices in a captivating and unforgettable tale.
"Meister casts Dorothy Parker as a blithe spirit in her fanciful third novel (after The Other Life). Though movie critic Violet Epps has become famous for her scathing no-holds-barred wit, off the page, Violet is 'held captive by her own timidity'; she can't seem to dump her freeloading boyfriend, her assistant walks all over her, and she rarely accepts social invitations. Worst of all, this shyness has resulted in her being denied temporary custody of her recently orphaned 13-year-old niece, just when the girl needs her 'Aunt V' the most. A fateful dinner at the Algonquin Hotel (one-time Parker hangout) ends with Violet becoming haunted by the spirit of her greatest influence. The acid-tongued, gin-swilling ghost immediately sets to meddling in Violet's affairs, in an attempt to help her grow a backbone. With Parker's help, Violet takes risks at work, connects with a new man, and finds the courage to make an impassioned plea for custody of her niece. With Violet's help, Parker's spirit may finally find peace. Meister skillfully translates the rapier-like wit of the Algonquin Round Table to modern-day New York. There are no shocking twists, but pathos, nuanced characters, plenty of rapid-fire one-liners, and a heart-rending denouement. Agent: Andrea Cirillo, the Jane Rotrosen Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Gripping! A truly fascinating story of love, loss, and a magical place in between."
– Beth Harbison, New York Times bestselling author of Hope In A Jar
"The Other Life is a provocative and unique tale of the road not taken. Ellen Meister puts a magical, masterful spin on one of my favorite questions: "What if?" What if you took both roads? You won't want to miss this one!"
– Sarah Addison Allen, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Chased the Moon
"Ellen Meister makes a big leap toward the literary in The Other Life, a book where "What if" becomes the most powerful question in the world. This is the thinking woman's beach read, a love story to the modern family, written with a deep and lovely understanding of mothers and daughters and the sacrifices they'll make for each other."
– Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Stopped Swimming
"Intriguing, stimulating, original, unpredictable, frightening, utterly engaging—The Other Life reminded me why I love to read. Ellen Meister is a writer with a limitless future."
– Michael Palmer, New York Times bestselling author of The Second Opinion and The Last Surgeon
"In her riveting breakthrough novel, The Other Life, gifted storyteller Ellen Meister doesn't just peek in on a young mother who straddles between love and doubt, she blows it open with a story of one who straddles two parallel universes, each with its own perilous decisions. It is a brave and honest exploration of the precarious limits of motherhood that will make readers wonder if Meister followed them with a probe and felt their racing hearts and hopes. If you have ever second guessed the biggest decisions of your life (and who hasn't), The Other Life is a captivating homage to the question, does love conquer all?"
– Saralee Rosenberg, author of Dear Neighbor, Drop Dead and Fate and Ms. Fortune
"I loved this emotional powerhouse of a novel that asks a daring "what if…" and manages to be as charming and funny as it is thoughtful and moving. Brava, Ellen Meister!"
– Melissa Senate, author of See Jane Date and The Secret of Joy
"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
“With a breezy and engaging writing style complete with Parkeresque banter…. [Farewell, Dorothy Parker] will be enjoyed by readers.” —Library Journal
“[Meister] reveals the pathos behind the pith...Classic Parker zingers sprinkled throughout the novel add sparkle.” —Washington Post
"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 Meisters 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
Praise for Farewell Dorothy Parker:
“[Meister] reveals the pathos behind the pith…Classic Parker zingers sprinkled throughout the novel add sparkle.”
“I loved it.…Meister has caught the nuance and language of what I imagine to be the consummate Dorothy Parker.”
Praise for Dorothy Parker Drank Here
"Meister's Dorothy Parker is just as sharp, witty and pleasantly mean as fans would expect. Her humanity shines through, though, along with her humor. Her obvious loneliness...make[s] this a surprisingly emotional novel. Not even death can keep Dorothy Parker down in this sad and funny story." --Kirkus
"A lovely...imagining [of] the voice of Dorothy Parker with equal parts wit, heartbreak, and practicality." --Booklist
"A quick, charming read that will delight Parker fans and stoke the curiosity of those unfamiliar with her great wit." --Library Journal
When it comes to movie reviews, critic Violet Epps is a powerhouse voice. But thats only because shes 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 Parkers feisty spirit rematerializes. An irreverent ghost with problems of her ownincluding a refusal to cross over to the afterlifeMrs. Parker helps Violet face her fears, becoming in turn mentor and tormentor
and ultimately, friend.
READERS GUIDE INSIDE
If you could return to the road not taken...would you?
Quinn Braverman has a perfect life, with a loving husband, an adorable son, and another baby on the way.
Quinn also has an ominous secret: she knows that another version of her life exists...one in which she made totally different life choices. But she's never been tempted to switch lives-until a shocking turn of events pushes her to cross over, and she discovers the one person she thought she'd lost forever: Her mother.
But Quinn can't have both lives. Soon, she must decide which she really wants-the one she has...or the other life...
Read Ellen Meister's blogs and other content on the Penguin Community.
If you could return to the road not taken, would you?
Happily married and pregnant, Quinn Braverman has an ominous secret. Every time she makes a major life decision, she knows an alternate reality exists in which she made the opposite choice-not only that, she knows how to cross over. But even in her darkest moments-like her mother's suicide-Quinn hasn't been tempted to slip through...until she receives devastating news about the baby she's carrying.
The grief lures her to peek across the portal, and before she knows it she's in the midst of the other life: the life in which she married another man, and is childless. The life in which her mother is still very much alive.
Quinn is forced to make a heartbreaking choice. Will she stay with the family she loves and her severely disabled child? Or will an easier life-and the primal need to be with her mother-win out?
The acid-tongued Dorothy Parker is back and haunting the halls of the Algonquin with her piercing wit, audacious voice, and unexpectedly tender wisdom.
Heavenly peace? No, thank you. Dorothy Parker would rather wander the famous halls of the Algonquin Hotel, drink in hand, searching for someone, anyone, who will keep her company on this side of eternity.
After forty years she thinks shes found the perfect candidate in Ted Shriver, a brilliant literary voice of the 1970s, silenced early in a promising career by a devastating plagiarism scandal. Now a prickly recluse, he hides away in the old hotel slowly dying of cancer, which he refuses to treat. If she can just convince him to sign the infamous guestbook of Percy Coates, Dorothy Parker might be able to persuade the jaded writer to spurn the white light with her. Ted, however, might be the only person living or dead whos more stubborn than Parker, and he rejects her proposal outright.
When a young, ambitious TV producer, Norah Wolfe, enters the hotel in search of Ted Shriver, Parker sees another opportunity to get what she wants. Instead, she and Norah manage to uncover such startling secrets about Teds past that the future changes for all of them.
About the Author
Ellen Meister has written five novelsincluding Farewell, Dorothy Parker and The Other Lifeas well as numerous short stories and essays. She teaches creative writing at Hofstra University Continuing Education, and does public speaking about her books and other writing-related issues. Ellen lives on Long Island with her husband and three children.