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Three Literary Gossip Novels

By Ted Gioia
The Group
by Mary McCarthy

Mary McCarthy's gossipy 1963 novel The
reached the top of the New York
bestseller list in October 1963,
and stayed in first place until February
1964—beating out, during that period,
the latest and greatest of Ian Fleming,
James Michener, Pearl Buck and a
host of other high-octane popular

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Answered Prayers
by Truman Capote

For almost two decades, Truman
Capote wheedled and whined and
got more and more money from his
publisher for a book that he never
finished—and, indeed, apparently
stopped working on long before
his death in 1984.  He often claimed
that his titanic gossip novel would
rival Proust's great masterpiece....

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Vile Bodies
by Evelyn Waugh

In 1930, Evelyn Waugh published
Vile Bodies, a follow-up to his
successful debut
Decline and Fall
(1928), offering readers (and
posterity) an incisive satire of
British society at the midpoint
between the two World Wars.  
Here gossip serves as the center-
piece for one of the finest comic
novels of the era....

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Can gossip serves as the basis for a literary novel?  Here
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