BABY SONIAT: A Tale From the Jazz Jungle by Neal Holland Duncan

BABY SONIAT: A Tale From the Jazz Jungle

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A sometimes disjointed, sometimes quirky, but always involving first novel about 1960's New Orleans society--and, in particular, one beautiful young woman. The narrator, Suddeth Meadows Spencer--""Suddie"" to his intimates--is as Old Money snobbish as his name sounds. He and his ""white-teethed, long-limbed, sun-kissed"" Anglo-Saxon friends are part of New Orleans' Uptown society of country clubs, big old homes, and fast cars. Suddie has a token job as an editor for a business publication, but he spends most of his time partying and longing after the beauteous Baby Soniat--Baby is her given name--perpetual debutante with a flair for the outrageous, ""a totally selfish, vain, thoughtless, psychotic child/bitch."" Suddie was Baby's first lover, and he'd like to marry her, but she's too busy traveling all over the world leaving a wake of smitten men behind her. In the meantime, Suddie has a tempestuous affair with a black girt named Rayne Farr (""the most demented woman ever allowed to love"") and even tries to commit suicide (typically, by walking in a ghetto neighborhood at night). Finally unable to win Baby, he exiles himself from New Orleans, heading off for Washington, D.C., and a career in government bureaucracy. Suddie and Baby are shallow and curiously dated, like flaming youths from an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. But Duncan makes them believable and even sympathetic--and presents a fascinating portrait of their slice of New Orleans.

Pub Date: Oct. 2nd, 1989
Publisher: Peachtree