Sunday, August 23, 2020

"The Queen of Tuesday"

Darin Strauss is the bestselling author of several books. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in fiction writing and numerous other awards, Strauss has seen his work translated into fourteen languages and published in more than twenty countries.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new book, The Queen of Tuesday, and reported the following:
The Queen of Tuesday is a star-crossed lovers' story, about my grandfather Isidore and Lucille Ball. And, in a twist of luck for this test, it shows their second meeting. They'd kissed at a party, and she thought she'd never see him again. And yet, here he is.

What you need to know for this? She'd called him "Hold-on" at their first meeting. (Long story. 309 pages, to be precise.) This is when my grandfather surprises her at the door to a comedy revue in which she's starring. He's standing in an alleyway, waiting for her, and then.....
Lucille seemed at first not to know him. She blinked at the man with her lusterless blue stare until memory showed in her eyes: a school of bright fish darting straight for the surface.

Good god.

It was the man from the Coney Island party, taking off his hat. “Lucille,” he said.

He looked calmly unsurprised and suddenly very close and in front of her. Hello.

Lucille found herself in a brief fantasy, and in this fantasy Desi storms off and divorces her, and she doesn’t necessarily accept Isidore's courtship, not fully or at first, but she does, in spite of herself, begin to allow the man to take her out on the town, and yes she’s unmarried and disgraced publicly, but somehow she holds up all right, and the guy’s a good snuggler. All this in a millisecond.

She said, “Hold-on, is it?”

“I’m hoping it still is.”
I think this shows the tone of the book, the riskiness of their romance -- both of their spouses were nearby -- and the time period. (He's wearing a hat! And takes it off when addressing a lady!) I also hope the dialogue catches some of the spirit of that time, swing and cocktails and big eyes filmed in elegant black-and-white.
Follow Darin Strauss on Twitter.

Q&A with Darin Strauss.

My Book, The Movie: The Queen of Tuesday.

--Marshal Zeringue