The Locusts Have No King by Dawn Powell

The Locusts Have No King

Alternate-cover edition for ISBN ISBN 1883642426 / 9781883642426 is located here: The Locusts Have No King No one has satirized New York society quite like Dawn Powell, and in this classic novel she turns her sharp eye and stinging wit on the literary world, and "identifies every sort of publishing type with the patience of a pathologist removing organs for inspection." Frederick Olliver, an obscure historian and writer, is having an affair with ...

Details The Locusts Have No King

TitleThe Locusts Have No King
Release DateJun 1st, 1998
PublisherSteerforth Press
GenreFiction, Classics, Novels, New York

Reviews The Locusts Have No King

  • Mala
    Dr. Johnson and Mr. Pope would've been proud of Dawn Powell – she does satire that well!Solid writing here but not experimental - a conventional format with a beginning, middle, and end. Surprisingly, despite such readability; Dawn Powell is vastly underread, the reason being she alienated the fiction-consuming middle class by exposing & mocking their venal lives. In her own words:"You both confuse and anger people if you satirize the middle cl...
  • Richard Derus
    Book Circle Reads 75Rating: 4* of fiveThe Publisher Says: No one has satirized New York society quite like Dawn Powell, and in this classic novel she turns her sharp eye and stinging wit on the literary world, and "identifies every sort of publishing type with the patience of a pathologist removing organs for inspection." Frederick Olliver, an obscure historian and writer, is having an affair with the restively married, beautiful, and hugely succ...
  • GoldGato
    Dawn Powell writes of New York City at its very peak, post-WWII, mid-20th century. Skyscrapers, badass automobiles, Radio City Music Hall, cafeterias. I swear that when you read this book, you'll hear the loud honking of the yellow taxicabs, you'll see the bright flashing neon lights of Broadway, you'll feel the surge of humanity walking with you on an overflowing sidewalk.Isn't that what a well-written book accomplishes? The feat of placing you ...
  • El
    Dawn Powell is one of those authors I have found myself collecting over the years, but hadn't read yet, and wasn't sure when to start... or where to start. At the beginning of her bibliography? At the end, and work backwards? Start with her diaries or her fiction?I started reading this right after finishing Dorothy Parker. They have the same initials! They're also known for their sarcasm and sardonic humor. Except, for some reason, Parker gained ...
  • Nancy
    Dawn Powell is wonderful, with her biting wit and trenchant examination of a certain segment of society, in this case literary and artistic types in New York in the immediate post war period. There are the successful, people on the make, hangers on, and drifters; the wealthy and the broke, the highbrow and the low, their relationships in flux, brought together by geography, drink and a deep fear of being alone. There's an overarching plot to pull...
    Dawn Powell, sentimentalist turned satirist, sent up literary pretensions, wannabes and hangers-on in this unsparing look at Manhattan in 1946. Her gimlet-eyed mode of character analysis will remind some people of Jane Austen, perhaps more of Sinclair Lewis. Since this novel is remarkably free of token "good people" or "moral bellwethers," her Juvenalian outlook, and possibly the carry-over of the biblical "locust" allusion, bring to mind Nathana...
  • Cphe
    I suspect that this author is an acquired taste. I struggled to finish this primarily because I just couldn't identify with one single character. Every single one appeared (to this reader at least) to be selfish and self serving. Already an adequate synopsis on offer so no point in rehashing........not my cup of tea.
  • Bryan
    I like Dawn Powell's abilities as a writer, but I didn't care too much for the subject matter in this satirical send-up of post-war New York and the literary scene. And, indeed, it was difficult for me to keep in mind this was post-war--WWII, that is, because there seemed to be a 1930s Hollywood screwball comedy feel to the entire thing. Maybe Powell rates more stars for how accurately she captured this life--that would just be a guess on my part...
  • Mark
    This is another in my series of underappreciated classics this year, and I ended up with decidedly mixed feelings about this Dawn Powell novel.On the one hand, there is no doubting her gifts as a writer and as a satirist. There is almost no part of post-WWII New York society that doesn't get skewered or at least nicked by her sardonic wit and her exploration of the mostly self-absorbed maneuverings of the men and women who mix business and the ar...
  • A
    "Jay McInerney meets Carrie Bradshaw for the Mad Men era" would surely be the publicist's pitch if Dawn Powell's weighty novel about the Greenwich Village literary whirl of the 40s were first published today. The description is not inaccurate: Powell prefigures SATC's breathless, enthusiastic chronicling of the cocktail-swilling tribes of Manhattan, and her writing is drenched in a face-disfiguringly acid wit so brutal even McInerney would blush....
  • Lori
    Dawn Powell is probably one of the best authors you have never read. And, until a couple weeks ago, she was one of the best authors I had never read. Thanks to my book group, I have finally changed my status for the better. I have been advised to read her time and again. And Powell is an Ohio author who was born in a little town not far from the farm country where my mom grew up. She attended college in a town I often frequent for work. She spent...
  • Robin Friedman
    A Novel Of Fallen IdealsThe title of Dawn Powell's 1948 novel is derived from the Book of Proverbs: "The locusts have no king, yet they go forth all of them by bands." The title suggests a certain degree of smallness, conformity, and crowd (swarm) mentality -- a lack of vision and a falling off of what creative life could be. I thought invariably of Nathanael West's "Day of the Locust" set in Hollywood, besides New York City that other center of ...
  • James
    While I'm reading this book, my vision seems to lose all color and I see everything in black and white. Its a flashback to mid-century New York with its literary and publishing scene, something that was popular in older films, either Gary Grant screwball comedies or some of the lesser known B grade romances. If I knew more about it, I'm sure I could recognize the real life individuals that are used as fictional characters.The story is a simple on...
  • Alison
    The fact that Dawn Powell is not universally celebrated as one of the Greats is proof that we’re not only doomed the boring, humorless catastrophe that is living in a world with little more Dawn Powells but that we might probably deserve to live there
  • Christopher (Donut)
    The Cats out of the Bag:And that's Robert Benchley on the far left, in "The Stork Club," but not necessarily in The Locusts Have No King. There may be quite a few portraits of famous, or once famous people here. This is a roman a clef for which the clef is missing.I think people who complain that Dawn Powell is 'dated' aren't really saying that the picture of the Stork Club era, or the "Had Enough?" era- New York immediately after WW II- isn't in...
  • Jim Leckband
    There are a set of authors whose characters are cherished playmates in the author's novels, saying witty bon mots or overcoming sturdy obstacles the author has constructed in their way. Then there are authors who have characters that are created with a sneer on the author's face. Authors I have read that tend to do this include Muriel Spark and Vladimir Nabokov, and now Dawn Powell.The publishing world after World War II must have been a backbiti...
  • Ted Burke
    A New York comedy of manners set in the Forties, it concerns a married couple comprised of a famous playwright and her husband, an academic who labors at his specialty in obscurity. The husband, while successful in this discipline, works away in his obscure scholarly endeavors, known by virtually no one save for a handful of peers while the wife is the toast of Broadway, blessed with hit after hit, loads of favorable reviews and admiring tidbits ...
  • Rebecca F.
    This writer was completely unknown to me when I started reading this book. I came away from the book with an incredibly vivid picture in my mind of the "party scene" of another era - New York socialites of the '20s/'30s. Powell's portrayal of her characters shows a remarkable skill in observing and interpreting the many delusions, mind games and inner conflicts common in people who are unfulfilled in life. There is something twisted and menacing ...
  • Christopher Sutch
    Powell's later novels only increase in complexity, skill in handling multiple characters and subplots, and, her forte, long-ish descriptive paragraphs. This book is ridiculous and hilariously funny, and the punch that Powell manages at the end, putting this all-too human comedy in a wider sociopolitical post-World War II context with the detonation of the atom bombs on the Bikini atoll is amazing and moving. What a tremendous talent Dawn Powell p...
  • Andrea
    Frederick Olliver and Lyle Gaynor are the love story interests in this New York City satire of literary society. Ms. Powell seems to find her characters most interesting when they are unhappy, and she seems to enjoy skewering the different types of society hanger-ons that are part of that society. This was biting satire mixed with some pathos.
  • Katy Koivastik
    This is my second reading. Having just finished Tim Page’s biography of Dawn Powell and his book of her letters, I have a better frame of reference for the milieu Powell created for this book. I can see the soon-to-be-demolished Cafe Lafayette Powell loved so much recreated sardonically as the New Place bar. She writes of a “stout lady” patron who raises “a lorgnette to the pictures above the bar, stating to no one in particular that the ...
  • E
    Boy this was good. A lot better than 1942's A Time to Be Born. My dearly beloved certainly heard me chuckling several times while reading this book. Powell totally skewers social climbers, artistic snobs, alcoholics, poseurs, adulterers, ne'er-do-wells, and more. And she adds to all of this a plot that is actually engaging, even if somewhat unbelievable. Each chapter is a set-scene, and some (most?) were clearly introduced merely to poke fun at s...
  • Clem Paulsen
    Some interesting period descriptions and argot. She is less of a wit here, but more of a comic. The world of Village bars and their patrons is amusing.The whole idea of literary Fame as a plot device has always seemed shaky. It makes a certain sense in the theater, with an audience and its willingness. But there are too many details required to bring it off in prose.Still, as a thing of literary and drinking types, and particularly something stro...
  • David Haws
    The prose is good, sometimes beautiful. The POV shifts are a little generous, for my taste, and some of the characterizations felt 1950s-stock (Dodo was particularly over the top, diminishing my estimation of Frederick for being subsumed). Finally, I found myself wishing, at the end, that (view spoiler)[ Powell would avoid the stock, lovers-reunited ending (hide spoiler)]. I only recently came across references to Powell, and am certainly interes...
  • Linda Kenny
    I found a nicely bound copy of Dawn Powell’s novels on one of my own bookshelves. It had never been opened or read by anyone in my family. I had never heard of her. The setting is New York City in the late 40s? It was published in 1948. The plot revolves around two people in love but one is married. Powell paints a satirical portrait of the couple, their friends, and life. I am happy I discovered her
  • Gerda
    I'd rate this 3.5 . Powell's writing is engaging, but I just found the romantic entanglement and the character of Dodo too infuriating to enjoy what is, at the end of the day, a poignant observation on the New York literary scene and gender roles.I relate much easier to Dorothy Parker's self deprecating and deflective sense of humor, but it's possible that that too would have grown to grate on my nerves if she ever wrote a novel.
  • Picky Virgo
    Somewhere around its halfway point Locusts began to remind me of descriptions of “Seinfeld”: a story about nothing. (I watched parts of two or three episodes over the years and am compelled to agree.)The book engaged me at first, but I found myself becoming uninterested in what happens next, a fatal flaw.
  • Kimberlyluisi
    I didn't love this the way I loved other Dawn Powell novels, that said her writing and human insight is still spectacular.
  • Hanna
    Never got into it.