Letty Fox, Her Luck

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From Paris to London to wartime New York, a young woman comes of age—and comes apart—in this witty novel by the author of The Man Who Loved Children. When Letty Fox first arrives in Manhattan, her goal is to escape her chaotic upbringing in London and Paris and the cynicism of her family, and create a fresh new start. This will be the existence she dreamed of—flitting from affair to affair, debating social issues over martinis, and finishing that novel about Robespierre that will make her envied by all the right people. Yet, Letty is at odds with both the city and herself: sexually adventurous yet fidgety for lasting romance, radically independent yet conservative, as likely to be betrayed by friends as she is to betray. And when Letty runs through the streets of Greenwich Village, it’s as much to unleash her glorious appetite for life as it is to suppress the “black moods” that always threaten to derail it. “No wonder [Christina Stead’s] work has reminded many of Tolstoy, Ibsen, Joyce,” said the New York Times Book Review. When this poisonously funny satire of the American bourgeoisie was first published in 1947, it was banned in the author’s native Australia, and met with alarm by stateside critics for its moral ambiguity. Ahead of its time with its vibrant and furious heroine, it is destined for rediscovery. From an author Saul Bellow called “really marvelous,” Letty Fox is a “merciless, cruel, and magnificently unforgiving” comedy of manners (Angela Carter, London Review of Books).

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