Set against an atmospheric backdrop of New York City in the months just before America’ s entry into World War II, A Time To Be Born is a scathing and hilarious study of cynical New Yorkers stalking each other for various selfish ends. At the center of the story are a wealthy, self-involved newspaper publisher and his scheming, novelist wife, Amanda Keeler. Powell always denied that Amanda Keeler was based upon the real-life Clare Boothe Luce, until years later when she discovered a memo she’d written to herself in 1939 that said, “Why not do a novel on Clare Luce?” Which prompted Powell to write in her diary “Who can I believe? Me or myself?”
About the Author
DAWN POWELL, who died in 1965, was the author of fifteen novels.
“The Powell Effect is strikingly evident in her handling of the Clare Boothe Luce character in her roman à clef A Time to Be Born. The character is, in every conventional sense, a monster of sexual and literary deception, and a consummate liar and user, yet seen through Powell’s clarifying lens her actions become understandable – one even comes to accord her energies a respect akin to that we have for Becky Sharp. To feel, really feel, the heartbreak of an objectively contemptible character is an exquisitely mixed literary experience, and Powell was peerless in keeping her readers off stride.” -- Gerry Howard in Salon