Writer Christine Howth, mourning her recently deceased father, a broken marriage and a career stuck in neutral, accepts a job at celebrity-driven Avenue Magazine, jolting her back to life.
Her first assignment, suggested by Hollywood hunk John Trevelyan, whom Christine once interviewed and bedded, is to profile famously reclusive director David Loomis. Winning over the aging director with her insight–and promise to keep his private life out of the article–Christine follows the director to rehearsal halls in New York City and on location in the Adirondacks, eventually falling in love with him. But with their growing intimacy comes an even greater urgency to keep the director's life-changing secret out of print, setting Christine up for a decision that will alter the course of both their careers. Fairman, with a background in filmmaking, is in need of a careful editor for this high-minded soap opera. Or it may be that Hymn, in trying to dissect the worlds of film and writing, would translate better to screen. Windy conversations between Loomis and Christine about the nature of film and its inspiration are as forgettable as they are long; the interspersed text of Christine's own novel are choppy, superficial and overwritten. Too many supporting characters crowd the stage with little to do: Loomis's old lover, who is the star of his new film, his spoiled daughters, Christine's married lover in Paris. A homeless woman who briefly interests Loomis and Christine is more baffling than poignant. Christine's troubled brother Luke is haunting, but never fully explained. Fortunately, there are exceptions that quicken the pace of this otherwise slow-go: Avenue Magazine editrix Kirsten is a snide, bitchy and perceptive foil for Christine's mawkish indecision, and the self-absorbed bad-boy actor John evolves from harmless to dangerously driven.
In Fairman's world, it's the bad guys who can carry a tune.