A cast of thousands, chaotic structure, and movie-biz clichés—in a second outing from film producer DeMarco (The Cranberry...

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOU AND ME

Hollywood strivers.

Josie O’Leary wants to be a producer and nothing’s going to stop her. She’s got a law degree, a few connections, and some insider advice: buy a great script by an unknown, attach yourself to a star, and work hard. But this triple play isn’t so easy, what with the competition from all those other people determined to make it in what’s invariably referred to as “the business” in “this town.” Josie just isn’t grabbing any glory as the underling of an old-style producer’s snotty niece. Maybe she could get somewhere if she wangled a job at NJTF—New Jersey Thoroughbred Films—owned by former horse trainer turned megastar Henry Antonelli. NJTF is run mostly by his interesting wife, Esther Rabinowitz, a dressed-down genius in jeans and T-shirt who offers only $45,000 a year, take it or leave it, when Josie wants $100,000. She takes it, and desperately touts the only script she can glom onto, a quirky project called The Bear Who Saved Christmas, written by a promising unknown. It could be greenlighted if Henry plays the lead (his last sleeper turned out to be a critical and commercial hit)—and what if Renee Zellweger were interested—or even J. Lo? Segue to Carla, a 40ish Manhattanite fleeing a falling ceiling and semipermanent unemployment to exploit the kindness of a rich cousin. Carla, a former book reviewer afflicted with a profound baby-needs-a-nap irritability, talks a blue streak and lands a job reading scripts, which she’s able to sum up in a New York minute. The thin plot suddenly thickens: She just so happens to be Henry Antonelli’s illegitimate daughter. Touched by stardust, Carla gets a job at NJTF, where she secretly rewrites The Bear. Josie and Carla square off as sparks fly and heads roll.

A cast of thousands, chaotic structure, and movie-biz clichés—in a second outing from film producer DeMarco (The Cranberry Queen, 2001).

Pub Date: June 1, 2003

ISBN: 1-4013-5191-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2003

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Miller makes Homer pertinent to women facing 21st-century monsters.

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CIRCE

A retelling of ancient Greek lore gives exhilarating voice to a witch.

“Monsters are a boon for gods. Imagine all the prayers.” So says Circe, a sly, petulant, and finally commanding voice that narrates the entirety of Miller’s dazzling second novel. The writer returns to Homer, the wellspring that led her to an Orange Prize for The Song of Achilles (2012). This time, she dips into The Odyssey for the legend of Circe, a nymph who turns Odysseus’ crew of men into pigs. The novel, with its distinctive feminist tang, starts with the sentence: “When I was born, the name for what I was did not exist.” Readers will relish following the puzzle of this unpromising daughter of the sun god Helios and his wife, Perse, who had negligible use for their child. It takes banishment to the island Aeaea for Circe to sense her calling as a sorceress: “I will not be like a bird bred in a cage, I thought, too dull to fly even when the door stands open. I stepped into those woods and my life began.” This lonely, scorned figure learns herbs and potions, surrounds herself with lions, and, in a heart-stopping chapter, outwits the monster Scylla to propel Daedalus and his boat to safety. She makes lovers of Hermes and then two mortal men. She midwifes the birth of the Minotaur on Crete and performs her own C-section. And as she grows in power, she muses that “not even Odysseus could talk his way past [her] witchcraft. He had talked his way past the witch instead.” Circe’s fascination with mortals becomes the book’s marrow and delivers its thrilling ending. All the while, the supernatural sits intriguingly alongside “the tonic of ordinary things.” A few passages coil toward melodrama, and one inelegant line after a rape seems jarringly modern, but the spell holds fast. Expect Miller’s readership to mushroom like one of Circe’s spells.

Miller makes Homer pertinent to women facing 21st-century monsters.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-55634-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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ANIMAL FARM

A FAIRY STORY

A modern day fable, with modern implications in a deceiving simplicity, by the author of Dickens. Dali and Others (Reynal & Hitchcock, p. 138), whose critical brilliance is well adapted to this type of satire. This tells of the revolt on a farm, against humans, when the pigs take over the intellectual superiority, training the horses, cows, sheep, etc., into acknowledging their greatness. The first hints come with the reading out of a pig who instigated the building of a windmill, so that the electric power would be theirs, the idea taken over by Napoleon who becomes topman with no maybes about it. Napoleon trains the young puppies to be his guards, dickers with humans, gradually instigates a reign of terror, and breaks the final commandment against any animal walking on two legs. The old faithful followers find themselves no better off for food and work than they were when man ruled them, learn their final disgrace when they see Napoleon and Squealer carousing with their enemies... A basic statement of the evils of dictatorship in that it not only corrupts the leaders, but deadens the intelligence and awareness of those led so that tyranny is inevitable. Mr. Orwell's animals exist in their own right, with a narrative as individual as it is apt in political parody.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 1946

ISBN: 0452277507

Page Count: 114

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1946

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