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Celebrities in Disgrace: A Novella and Stories Paperback – Apr 1 2001

3.6 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press (April 1 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555973248
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555973247
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 1.3 x 23 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,734,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

From Publishers Weekly

A short story collection can be strangely uneven, as if several authors had contributed instead of one. Such is the case with Searle's (A Four-Sided Bed) slim second collection, composed of a novella and four stories. In the title novella, the infamous Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding scandal is reheated and served up. Celebrity-obsessed teenager Daniel Sanders is stalking smalltime actress Kathryn Byrne, who desperately yearns to be cast as Kerrigan in the TV movie chronicling the skating divas' tabloid past. While Searle's descriptions ("He stapled his face over hers"; "Then the ice, the whole rink tilted, dumping her") are sharp and clear, the rambling narrative is in need of some thoughtful pruning, and what clever social commentary she makes is upstaged by awkward pacing. The two stories that avoid the celebrity satire theme are the collection's true starring vehicles. "What It's Worth" is well developed and straightforward, and features likable single student Brigid, who wields sex like a weapon to fend off her loneliness and insecurities. The last tale, "Celebration," is a moving slice of life. Eager to have a baby, spouses Sarah (young) and Paul (older) reluctantly celebrate Paul's 52nd birthday, a reminder that yet another infertile year has passed. Their circumstances are tempered by skillfully applied humor (Sarah envisions their life as a series of tabloid headlines), creating a warm authenticity underscoring Searle's talent, yet undermining the stories that preceded. (June) Forecast: This will mostly attract small-press loyalists, though a campy, tabloid-style cover and the paperback price tag might capture the attention of browsers.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Fame lies just out of reach for many of the characters in this latest collection from Searle, author of A Four-Sided Bed as well as My Body to You, an Iowa Short Fiction Award winner. And the more fame eludes them, the harder they chase after it. In the title novella, Kathryn tenaciously pursues an acting career even though she habitually faints onstage. Still, she tries out for a film role because she wants so much to be recognized beyond her New England hometown. In "What It's Worth," doctoral student Brigid says, "OK, I told myself: if my thesis becomes famous for nothing else, it'll be famous round Brown for being the ONLY thesis no one wanted to toast." Searle's writing brims over with dashes and parenthetical phrases, sentences that dangle on the edge of a cliff and change direction a number of times before they end. This gives her writing a jerky, choppy quality, which reflects the jumpiness and anxiety of many of her characters. The reading experience is not itself choppy, however, but energetic and unpredictable. Recommended for co temporary fiction collections. Lisa Nussbaum, Dauphin Cty. Lib. Sys., Harrisburg, PA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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July 9, 2001
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