What Fresh Hell is This?

“I wish I could drink like a lady.
I can take one or two at the most.
Three and I'm under the table.
Four and I'm under the host.
 - Dorothy Parker

not sure if you know, but the writer dorothy parker is the lady responsible for the shop's namesake. "the custard heart" is the title of one of her short stories. when i was told that a  dorothy parker biography existed, written by one of my favorite biographers, of course i had to pick up a copy.

with her infamous "round tablers" / via

it was a great read especially if you're a fan of her writings, and/or history in general.  it starts out with young, dorothy gracing her presence at the infamous "round table" of the algonquin hotel in new york.  this was the place to be back in the 20s and 30s where america's famous wits would come to eat, drink and verbally spar.  she was known for her one-liners and was "what fresh hell is this ?" was what she could often be overhead muttering right before she would answer her telephone.   she was friends with all the great writers of her day from ernest hemingway to scott fitzgerald and throughout her life suffered from bouts of depression leading to several failed suicide attempts.  she even had a collection of stories called "enough rope," the title a typical example of her dry wit.

to sum it up, it was well worth the read and if you decide to give it a go,  you'll find out not only about dorothy p. but also about the seemingly magical world of new york in the early 20th century.

psst...  if you don't feel like reading, this movie starring jennifer jason lee, was made based on the book.

a couple of my other favorite quotes from ms. parker:

“Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.”

"Brevity is the soul of lingerie."

dorothy later in life with her beloved poodle / via


  1. I haven't heard of her but will certainly add this to my reading list. I love reading about old NYC...great synopsis!


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