Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tell-All by Chuck Palahniuk

(hb; 2010)

From the inside flap

"Soaked, nay, marinated in the world of vintage Hollywood, Tell-All is a Sunset Boulevard-inflected homage to Old Hollywood when Bette Davis and Joan Crawford ruled the roost: a veritable Tourette's syndrome of rat-tat-tat name-dropping, from the A-list to the Z-list; and a merciless send-up of Lillian Hellman's habit of butchering the truth that will have Mary McCarthy cheering from the beyond.

"Our Thelma Ritter-ish narrator is Hazie Coogan, who for decades has tended to the outsized needs of Katherine 'Miss Kathie' Kenton -- veteran of multiple marriages, career comebacks, and cosmetic surgeries. But danger arrives with gentleman caller Webster Carlton Westward III, who worms his way into Miss Kathie's heart (and boudoir). Hazie discovers that this bounder has already written a celebrity tell-all memoir foretelling Miss Kathie's death in a fortcoming Lillian Hellman-penned musical extravaganza, Unconditional Surrender, in which she portrays Lilly defeating Japanese forces from Pearl Harbor to Nagasaki. As the body count mounts, Hazie must execute a plan to save Katherine Kenton for her fans -- and for posterity."


Subject-wise, Tell-All is one of Palahniuk's more lightweight efforts, a skillful side-step rather than a stepping-up of his storytelling talents. (This isn't a backhanded compliment; I'm noting that if this short novel were a song, it'd be a b-side song, not an album cut.)

Hazie Coogan, the tale's narrator, is less clever than she thinks, and Palahniuk seems to know this, so he wisely goes way over-the-top satirical, funny and bitchalicious in this Coogan-viewed neck of Tinseltown. Check it out.

1 comment:

Jingle said...

hello, friend:

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follow this link, read the instructions,
have fun reading others while sharing your own poetry.

let me know if you decide to be part of our loving community.
Happy Wednesday!

<em>Dark Places</em> by <a href="">Gillian Flynn</a>

(pb; 2009) From the back cover “Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in ‘The Satan Sacrifice’ of Kinn...