I wouldn’t find Jen Silverman’s name until we played each other. It was a playwright who asked me how good she was at this novel about a woman in her thirties who suddenly finds herself in the public eye after performing plays in obscure New York locations for a decade, whose star drops as fast as it rises.
There is a French bulldog. It gives me a lazy, mocking look. He knows I can’t even answer the phone to my agent who fled New York to Los Angeles after a scandal that shook the theater world. Entrenched with her friend Dylan, who herself is about to leave her beloved partner, she is desperately looking for something to distract her from her nemesis Tara-Jane Slater. Like Cas, Tara-Jane is one of three winners of a prestigious young playwrights award that led to Broadway plays for both, but while Cas’ opening night ended with bad news sealing her fate, Tara-Jane ticked all the right boxes. Cas became involved in an passion that resulted in a very public act. Now in disgrace, her career in ruins, she buried herself as far as possible from the theater.
Los Angeles is a film country where every actor, director or screenwriter is, including his neighbor Caroline, who tells Cas about her current project: a feminist version of action Club about a group of young women who spontaneously mate. Cas, increasingly involved in the creation of the film, feels uncomfortable with Caroline’s version of the truth. How much of your Film was written? Who are these young women who seem so different in their origins?
Silverman tells her story in the wry voice of Cas, alternating between New York and Los Angeles as she approaches the revelation of what drove her to flee to the other side of the country. Cas is an engaging narrator, both funny and vulnerable. The New York theater world is skillfully Insidious, The uncertainty of Fame is painfully conveyed – a bad review and his career has failed, his Agent no longer answers his calls, and his head is full of self-hatred. Silverman also asks serious questions about film. Caroline’s motives for her “documentary” are extremely dubious, her Film is shaped by what the lenders want to see, and the girls seem more interested in fame than truth. Quite an entertaining, entertaining and yet serious novel that led me to explore Silverman’s short stories.