KAY DARLING by Laura & Alex Pugsley McDonald


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A collaborative debut that follows the uneven journey of three young Canadians whose paths cross and join as they attempt to put their lives in some kind of adult order. When we first meet Kay Pritchard, she's on the rebound: Having just quit both the movie industry and Toronto, she moves into a new place in Montreal and tries to find a better circle of friends than the one she had at Gryphon Films. Unfortunately for Kay, though, she's locked more deeply into the business than she'd imagined, and when her attempt to break into TV journalism goes nowhere, she shuts herself in her room and buckles down to her screenplay: ""Thirty thousand on the first day of shooting, thirty thousand on the first day of shooting...that's my mantra. That's what's getting me through this."" Whatever human contact she has at this time is likely to be either with her sister, Claire, or with Will, a gay actor she knows from Toronto. Claire also has problems: A graduate student who can't manage to settle down and get on with her degree, she's lacking direction, is marginally destitute, and possibly pregnant. Will, meanwhile, is ambitious and unscrupulous. Most of the story unfolds through the letters that the three send back and forth, and although there are nice interludes of third-person narration and dialogue, it must be said that this is not so much a portrait of events as of personalities, carefully defined and elaborated upon. As such, within the standard coming-of-age scenario (times three), it manages to create its own small world of friendships, rivalries, and ambitions, in which the eventual success of the protagonists arrives as the fulfillment of a promise wholly in tune with their characters. Delightful, funny, and real: The authors have managed to uncover the twisted and often hilarious souls of their characters without a hint of pretense or sentimentality.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1995
Page count: 217pp
Publisher: Coach House