The German reissue, fall 2015
Publisher: Piper Verlag
Translator: Tanja Handels
Release Date: August 31, 2015
National Public Radio, Germany
Book Review, “Cocktails,” by Peter Henning
December 29th 2015
Clearly Pamela Moore can be understood in this novel, published in the US in 1956 and finally rediscovered, to illustrate the youthful confusion of her heroine: her longing for closeness, her hunger for life and her highflown dreams of a Park Avenue existence and a blaze of glory. But we also find here the darkened land that we know from the novels and stories of Richard Yates and John Cheever; a fully air-conditioned, slightly nightmarish America, where one pours martinis, gin and scotch into oneself around the clock, so as not to fall prey to serious reflection.
”With all due respect, in Sagan or Salinger even the driest schoolteachers sound more fresh, funny or poetic when speaking about awakening sexuality, desire and the pain of growing up. Moore’s highly neurotic neoexistentialist teenagers bring to mind more Courths Mahler than the icons of Saganism or even newer television shows like “Gossip Girl” or Lena Dunham “Girls.” ../… “Cocktails” is not, as the publishing house boasts, a rediscovered modern classic, but the call for help of a young woman who finds no voice to her plight, only the phrases and clichés of her time. ”
Bloody Marys for Breakfast
by Philipp Haibach, Die Welt,
Oct 27, 2015
“What a great book, whose worldly sophistication is in every sentence. So stylish, so cool, so funny, so sad – yet sad in its own way, avoiding pathos. One of the best debut novels in years, especially since it appeared for the first time 59 years ago in the USA, with great success. Now it is back, newly translated into German, while in America it was forgotten for a long time.”
by Anja Reich Berliner Zeitung
Sept. 26, 2015
“Cocktails” is a coming-of-age story, similar to JD Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye”, an unflinching look into the minds of teenagers of the fifties . . . it seems that coming of age has not become much less complicated 60 years later. . . An entry in her diary, a quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald: “The rich are very different from you and me.” And that there was one big difference between the heroine Courtney and the author Pamela: “Courtney thinks she belongs in this world, but Pamela . . . was always the observer.”
She was the Catcher in the Rye
by Harald Peters
Sept 4, 2015
. . . while Sagan and Salinger have a firm place in the history of literature, Moore is inexplicably consigned to oblivion . . . Because this book should stand alongside “Catcher in the Rye,” “Bonjour Tristesse,” Sylvia Plath’s “Bell Jar” and Bret Easton Ellis’ “Less Than Zero.”
In puritanical America, it must have seemed quite suspect to talk without fear about the more sinister side of their country. The society to which she bore witness may not have resembled the conservative ideals of the Republicans at all. . . Moore is unique for her time: she allows women and girls an unconventional degree of autonomy.
Südwestrundfunk (SWR Radio)
Culture theme with Carsten Otte
The Intoxication of Youth
Not a 18 year old debutante at work, but an early consummate writer showing their skills. . . . Just think of the poet Sylvia Plath, whose death-seeking poetry and prose is part of the canon of American modernism, also in Germany . . The characters in Christian Kracht “Faserland” or Wolfgang Herrndorf “Tschick” are reminiscent of Courtney Farrell search for love and identity. Pamela Moore is worth rediscovering.
Carsten Otte also quotes and pokes fun at the very dismissive review of the first German edition by a prominent critic, which had appeared in Die Zeit in 1957 (see at bottom).
Südwestrundfunk (SWR Radio)
Here Otte revisits the book a month later in an extended conversation with Claudia Kramatschek
I read through the pages almost intoxicated by the razor-sharp, trenchant dialogue. Also the crystal clear, deadly serious wisdom that lifts me out of the reading chair: “There are not many years, in which we can excuse us with and things like that. People are far too strict, far too quicklto judge you. ”
In such a worldly-wise sentences today’s youth will also see themselves. This makes the novel absolutely contemporary. Pamela Moore was just 18 years old when she wrote her debut. And took on issues such as friendship, family, growing up and love as well as depression and suicide, which even today are often regarded as taboo.
This novel is the epitome of good literature for me: people with depth, everyday problems that are currently even after years and an excellent voice (In this case, thanks to Tanja Handels’ translation!)
You like Sylvia Plath? You like F. Scott Fitzgerald? You like me? Then read “Cocktails” by Pamela Moore and let’s start a clique! I was a little worried before reading this book, because the publisher had heavily advertised the similarity to Sylvia Plath, and Plath I have a really bad crush on (I find here once again that I’m a big fan of “The Glass Bell” and feel an even more urgent need to finally read her other books). “The rediscovery of a modern classic” it also says in the accompanying information. But – I was not disappointed, but rather completely satisfied.
“Booktips” from Bücherwunder
Bild am Sonntag
Ever since “Stoner” it’s been hard to avoid all those ‘rediscovered classics.’ Here however is the real thing: The debut of the then 18 year-old Pamela Moore, which tells of longing, self-discovery and sexual awakening of a girl in America in the Eisenhower years.
Perlentaucher, Das Kultur Magazine
. . . one of the great forgotten novels of American literature. . . . From the 1950s, the cult book of a generation.
Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung:
Sparkling and Honest
With this reissue 60 years later, the razor sharp tone has not lost its relevance.
The longing and the pain of youth
by Armgard Seegers
This book is exhilarating, reads easily, is fresh, relevant and often hilarious.
… her fantastic debut fell into oblivion. Until now.
Pamela Moore gave her 16 year old heroine Courtney much of what she had to deal with herself: the divorce of her parents, drunkenness of her mother, the shabby side of Hollywood and the New York of the unbridled rich, but above all over and over again the feeling of not belonging.
When the book was published in 1956, it shocked. Today, it is primarily a sensitive portrait of a young girl who does not know where she belongs -. And therefore more relevant than ever.
by Paul Hühnerfeld
June 13 1957
. . . what really is interesting here is not the book itself, but the great fuss being made about it . . . isn’t this just part of our love for the immature, the childish? We are fascinated, having long been at our wits’ end, taking note of every expression of human life that promises us a ‘spiritual ‘– please forgive the use of the word in this context- and somehow ‘juvenile delinquent’ power. We lack spiritual strength, we have failed, we have become weak — let us now try our lot with the juvenile delinquents and the beatniks . . .
titles, names & labels
- The title Chocolates for Breakfast having been used in Germany for the film version of Bridget Jones’ Diary, this new translation is called simply Cocktails.
- The first German translation that appeared in 1957 was called Cocktails zum Frühstück (losing the chocolates, bringing in the cocktails, but keeping the breakfast. ) That first translation had inexplicably altered the heroine’s name from Courtney to Maureen.
- The word which Die Zeit’s literary critic Paul Hühnerfeld used in 1957 to characterize the book — Halbstarken – can apparently mean beatniks, juvenile delinquents, yobs, teen rebels, thugs, or hooligans.