Book Review: Paisley Mischief by Lincoln MacVeagh

paisleyPaisley Mischief is a delightfully droll satire set in the most exclusive private men’s club on New York’s Park Avenue. The Avenue Club is a place where rich banker-types meet in easy camaraderie and no one wears trunks in the pool, because when you’re the right sort of person, you’re supposed to have nothing to hide.

When a famously brash movie producer applies for membership, long-simmering tensions at The Avenue rise to a boil. Who is Max Guberstein and where did he come from? Why does he want to join and most important, will he get in? These are the questions on everyone’s mind, but it’s left up to Dante Penfield, the club president’s feckless nephew, and his resourceful roommate Audrey to figure out the answers.

Offering an inside glimpse into the preppy world, this tightly plotted comedy rolls like a freight train toward its ingenious conclusion. Paisley Mischief is reminiscent of the best drawing room comedies with its hilariously drawn characters and their highly incompatible views of the world. You will be charmed!

Sent to me in return for a review.

This is the story circulating around exclusive “The Avenue” “Gentleman’s Club” in New York where the male members use it, often daily, to eat their epic meals, drink their drink and play their squash. There are several sub-plots, only one of which is to do with Max Gubenstein and his attempt to join The Avenue (although his brash, movie producer Jewishness seems to be working against him). The other sub plots also included trying to work out who wrote the scandalous novel Paisley Mischief, where everyone recognises themselves; Max’s assistant Cecil trying not to get fired and therefore have to return to England and his appalling fiancé Penelope; Dante, friend of Cecil,  the Chairman of The Avenue, newly appointed member of the a;pproval board; nephew of Puff Penfield; stuck in the middle of everything; and the matter of the ownership of a certain cottage and certain Spite Pole.

In the beginning I thought the book was perhaps trying too hard to be self-aware/self-ironic/clever [I cant pinpoint anything specific without quoting whole sections of the book, which I wont], but I soon settled down into the rythmn and we went happily off together after that. You can easily imagine that the actions of the characters, where many of them have the money to be focussed on things that the rest of us can only fantasise about (or watching programs like “Real Housewives of……”). This is a form of class statement, where Americans and their money have replaced the British and their class system (and where the plebs win as much as the 1%).

So in summary: getting past the apparent self awareness, this is a funny, light read, nicely distracting. Some people have made comparisons with Wodehouse etc, but since I havent read any of those I cant confirm if these comparisons are correct




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