The Golden Spur – Dawn Powell (1962)


In Search Of a Father By Morris Gilbert (1962): “Dawn Powell for some decades has been whipping up successive human comedies of the most fastidious disenchantment. With her, the comic spirit is a mordant one; her knowingness is proverbially satanic. She has always had a precocious and highly esteemed gift for outrage. In The Golden Spur, she is again at her most outrageous, and again goes swinging on her patented Ohio-New York pendulum–a thoroughly familiar one for her, a native of little Shelby, Ohio, and a habituÈ of the metropolis. As early as 1940, a reviewer was observing that her eight novels (to that date) ‘have progressed steadily from Ohio sunshine to Manhattan madness.’ Here it is still the case–not to imply any suggestion of repetitiveness. The phenomenon that New York is filled and possessed, year in, year out, with successions of provincials who presently become New York’s New Yorkers is like a law of nature. Hence, variations on that basic theme are limitless. This time, apart from all else, the author has hit upon one of the happiest imaginable and most original of plot contrivances. Three men of mature years are separately caused to suspect that during their long-gone, gay-dog youth in Greenwich Village they had sired a son, out of holy wedlock. With extreme pleasure, for diverse reasons, each of them ardently hopes to prove his dishonest fatherhood, and to turn the circumstance to his own uses. The source of this unusual agitation is a personable young man, a Silver City, Ohio, Candide, in search of traces of his beloved dead mother–and, indeed, of a true father. Jonathan Jaimison has only recently learned, from his mother’s cryptic diary, the real state of affairs, when Connie Birch had suddenly departed the Village in the late twenties, especially a glamorous (to her) cafe, The Golden Spur, to marry her small-town sweetheart. …”
NY Times
[PDF] The Message of the City: Dawn Powell’s New York Novels, 1925–1962
W – Dawn Powell
salon: How Dawn Powell can save your life
LARB: Minding Other People’s Business: On Dawn Powell
amazon: Dawn Powell: Novels 1944-1962


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