Book #08


The Custard Heart by Dorothy Parker

'She felt a cozy solidarity with the big company of the voluntary dead.'

Wise-cracking and heartbreaking, these tales of women on the edge by the legendary wit Dorothy Parker show the darkness beneath the surface of the Jazz Age.

These three stories focus on Jazz Age America, and the trials this brought. Every day a party, every night soaked in alcohol, Parker suggests you had to maintain your facade, and be a ‘good sport’. 

The women in her stories hold themselves up as high as they can, whilst drowning on the inside from loneliness, alcoholism, depression, or often all three. It’s a heartbreaking, but undoubtedly a realistic account of the time, when men had no interest in anything other than a good time, and women had to support this by suppressing emotion, and pandering to male whims. Parker explores these women and their deeply felt emotions, showing us the darker side to the glitzy Jazz Age we’re tempted to imagine now.

A wonderful introduction to Parker, one which could be translated to an exploration of how negative emotions can make others uncomfortable, and the dangers the dreaded ‘chin up’ response can lead to. Very, very thought-provoking and powerful.