Brilliantly capturing the glamour of post-war America and the shabbiness of 1970s Dublin, Actress is an intensely moving, disturbing novel about mothers and daughters and the men in their lives.
Well, Actress was a terrific introduction to Enright. Fitzgerald, in a note for The Last Tycoon entitled “Actress”, advised, “don’t let it drift away in detailed description of her career”. Katherine O’Dell, an Irish legend, a star of theatre and cinema, someone whose career peaked across the ocean, but never sustained, all to end with a scandal and a relatively early death. Well buy that instead, it's better and less expensive than this novel. Add to Hollywood’s enforced mutation and masking of one’s identity the fact that business as usual in this company town means the constant massaging of message, and it’s a wonder that anyone makes it through a career without going totally nuts.
But it’s more than that, it’s a powerful story of a mother and daughter, and the fraught relationship when the mother is a narcistic creative person touched with mental health issues.
Nothing about it was believable. as well as unblinking depictions of Irish family life (Booker Prize winner The Gathering, The Green Road), and she has been justly praised for her precise and idiosyncratic phrasing. Norah can... I’ve been reading entirely too much genre fiction and not even the best of it, so a palate cleanser was due and nothing does the trick quite like a work of proper literature. This would have been a fine guilty pleasure summer read, but the author has the oddest writing style, and I found it distracting. A perfect jewel of a book, a dark emerald set in the Irish laureate’s fictional tiara, alongside her Man Booker Prize winner The Gathering (2007) and The Green Road (2015).Its brilliance is complex and multifaceted, but completely lucid…Actress is a deeply humane, often darkly funny novel about the exercise of power over sexually attractive women. They can see the distant possibilities, the promise of the future...if they are clothed and styled correctly. One day, when someone falls ill, she is given three hours’ notice to play George du Maurier’s Trilby, the plaything of Svengali, and becomes part of the travelling company. The first half was compelling and continually opened new doors, revealing fragments of Katherine’s life and the mystery of Nora’s paternity. she matures...Sohn still creates an ending where there is reader empathy for all parties, or at least I felt empathy for both Maddy and Steven. Sign up for the Slate Book Review monthly newsletter. A deft novel of mother-daughter relationships and the dark underbelly of fame and adulation, Actress deftly unpacks the secrets and lies of a renowned theatre performer and the effects of her notoriety on the child who idolised her. I would say that within 50 pages, I realized that it was going to be awful, but it was a little bit like a train crash: I couldn't look away. Actress is about a daughter's search for the truth: the dark secret in the bright star, and what drove Katherine finally mad. “One of the reasons Maddy loved The Apartment,” Sohn writes, “was that it was about a person without morality finding morality.” This kind of overly simplistic-verging-on-smug observation is representative of Maddy’s initial worldview; she’s a character who desperately needs to be called out on her B.S.
The narrator, Norah FitzMaurice, a middle-aged novelist, believes that her late mother, the actress Katherine O’Dell, has been consistently misrepresented. Awful. I was excited to receive a copy of this book in connection with a giveaway because it had all the makings of a great summer read. Its characters are subject to other world pressures dictated by the public eye, but the novel reads like a well-written, far-sighted biography, for these characters cannot see what is so close or important, what is real or true. This was a book in two parts - for me. You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition. My favorite contemporary novel I've read so far this year (more comments to come in a video soon), “Actress” is a story about a daughter delving into the history of her famous actress mother. The elegance of narrative alone, the seamless integration of language and emotions, the gorgeous vividness of the scenery.
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