"Lunch at the Algonquin" is a new book by Kim Goldsworthy. A novelette of historical fiction, the book re-creates a dialogue between the group of writers known as "The Algonquin Round Table" or "The Vicious Circle," featuring Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley.
The author, Mr. Kim Goldsworthy of Rosemead, California, describes his historical fiction novelette as a re-creation of a one-hour luncheon attended by the famous Algonquin Wits of The Roaring Twenties or The Jazz Age. Specifically, the dialogue features the wit and sarcasm of Dorothy Parker (writer/screenwriter), Robert Benchley (writer/actor), Harold Ross (editor and founder of "The New Yorker" magazine), George S. Kaufman (Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright), and Marc Connelly (Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright), and others.
Like a fly-on-the-wall, the book records a typical conversation of this group as they eat lunch in the Algonquin Hotel in mid-town Manhattan, one afternoon in 1921, as they gab about the hot issues of the day: Prohibition; women's rights; radio; film; the Red Scare; the Sacco-Vanzetti trial of the century. They likewise converse about the little things, like pets, the theater, and what to do this weekend. In between bites, they spit their venom on each other as they toss off their insults and sexual innuendos between puns, word-play, literary allusions, and quotable quotes.
The author has included historical background to allow the reader to pick up the vibration of post-World War I America as expressed by the most literate New Yorkers living through the Jazz Age. For example, the newest interests of the early 1920s were mainly: the spread of the deadly Spanish flu epidemic; the spreading of jazz music; the propagation of radio as a consumer good; and the two newest Amendments to the U.S. Constitution concerning the right to vote ("women's suffrage") and the banning of alcoholic beverages ("Prohibition").
Popular interest in the Roaring Twenties and The Jazz Age is peaking right now, thanks to recent television shows like HBO's "Boardwalk Empire" and the Ken Burns documentary "Prohibition" which debuted on PBS.