In my search for humorous narrative, I ran across a listing of various authors who, supposedly, wrote humorous books. I could tell from my familiarity with some of the authors on the list that it was somewhat of a scattershot, but that came as no surprise–what people find funny differs as much as their taste in music. I printed the list and visited the library, reading bits and pieces of the authors’ work. The one true find from all that was Peter De Vries.
De Vries was a writer and editor for The New Yorker from the late 1940s through the early 1970s. In addition to his magazine duties, he wrote novels on the foibles of society, including satire on the suburban trend, free love, and bringing up babies. In this novel, the satire is directed at the pretensions of the well-heeled and their desires for artistic and community acceptance.
The Tunnel of Love is one of his earliest novels, and, while humorous, well written and entertaining, has only a fraction of the biting satire of his later work. I’m planning on trying to read his oeuvre chronologically, to watch the development of that wit.
[Finished 2 November 1997]