The Dixie Dugan Trilogy:
Show Girl / Hollywood Girl / Society

J. P. McEvoy
Introduction by Steven Moore
March 12, 2024 / 596 pages
ISBN 9798218353674 Paperback / $29.99

Between 1928 and 1932, J. P. McEvoy published six ingenious novels that unfold solely by way of letters, telegrams, newspaper articles, ads, telephone transcriptions, scripts, playbills, greeting card verses, interoffice memos, legal documents, monologues, song lyrics, police reports, and radio broadcasts. Three of them, collected here for the first time, record the wild career of a jazz baby named Dixie Dugan (modeled on actress Louise Brooks, whom McEvoy knew). The best-selling Show Girl tracks Dixie's zigzagging path to success on Broadway; in Hollywood Girl, she heads out West for further risqué adventures, and impulsively marries a rich playboy; in Society, Dixie mingles with high society both in Europe and the U.S. before returning to Hollywood to resume her show-biz career.

Beneath the novels' hellzapoppin' energy and jazzy lingo, however, McEvoy exposes the dark underside of the times: sexual predation, tabloid journalism, political corruption, the rise of religious fundamentalism, and the fatuous lifestyles of the rich and famous. But it's the blend of humor and bite, of success and failure, of ridicule and irony—shaken and stirred with linguistic and formal ingenuity—that makes The Dixie Dugan Trilogy "a madcap, mordant masterpiece," as critic Steven Moore writes in his informative introduction. Out of print since the 1930s, these "avant-pop" novels deserve a revival.


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