After his girlfriend discovers she is pregnant, a screenwriter and director experiences something that may be a miracle in this novel.
In the 1980s, David Lang captured the cult movie zeitgeist with the low-budget Zombie Film School. The work’s success brought fame, fortune, and marriage to an actress named Rosamundo. Two sequels follow, but by the mid-1990s, David’s marriage ends and he moves to California with his girlfriend, Holly Markham, and works as a script doctor. A writer and singer, Holly enchants David with her beauty and intelligence. In late 1998, Holly discovers she is unexpectedly pregnant. At age 42, she figures this may be her last opportunity to become a mother, but she is ambivalent about the prospect of parenthood. One night, David has a vision of an ethereally beautiful young girl at the head of their bed. The vision is brief but profound, and he wonders if he has seen an angel. While they struggle to decide whether to continue with the pregnancy, David prepares to turn his film script The Blemish into a play. When circumstances prompt them to return to New York, David and Holly are faced with pivotal choices that will affect the future of their relationship. The latest novel from Fife (The 13th Boy, 2014, etc.) is a thoughtful and compulsively readable portrait of a man facing intense changes in his career and life. Told through David’s journal entries and excerpts from his unfinished novel, Accident of Nature, the narrative is inventive and fast-paced. The tale primarily centers on David and Holly and the effect of her pregnancy on their relationship. The question of whether or not to have the baby is complicated by Holly’s struggle with depression. Her story is explored with candor and nuance as her moods shift wildly on a daily basis. In one poignant moment, Holly tells her doctor, “I’m just trying not to drown.” David’s experiences as a script doctor and his efforts to revive his career with the play The Blemish provide well-timed, darkly comic moments.
A haunting and keenly observed meditation on relationships, parenthood, and the vagaries of celebrity and fame.