Splashes and glimpses – Book review for NetGalley – Pure Hollywood by Christine Schutt

35412384 Pure Hollywood

“With terse sentences that read like poetry, Schutt strips each scene of excess context and cuts to the heart of the moment….Schutt’s haunting yet lyrical words linger long after the final page.”–Los Angeles Times

Hailed by George Saunders as “a truly gifted writer,” with Pure Hollywood & Other Stories, Pulitzer Prize finalist and O Henry Prize winner Christine Schutt returns to the short story form that launched her acclaimed career and her inimitable style that John Ashbery once described as “pared down but rich, dense, fevered, exactly right and even eerily beautiful.”

In 11 captivating tales, Pure Hollywood brings us into private worlds of corrupt familial love, intimacy, longing, and danger. From an alcoholic widowed actress living in desert seclusion, to a young mother whose rejection of her child has terrible consequences, a newlywed couple who ignore the violent warnings of a painter burned by love, to an eerie portrait of erotic obsession, each story in Pure Hollywood is an imagistic snapshot of what it means to live and learn love and hurt.

In league with JD Salinger, Katherine Mansfield and Guy De Maupassant, in Pure Hollywood Schutt gives us sharply suspenseful and masterfully dark interior portraits of ordinary lives, infused with her signature observation and surprise. Timeless, incisive, and precise, these tales are a rush of blood to the head, portals through which we open our eyes and see the world anew. 

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A collection of short stories not connected to each other by anything except the poetic, psychodelic language of narration.

You can’t determine with any certainty the time set of any story. They could have taken place in the 60s or 80s or even in 2006.

Reading this book was difficult because none of the stories had beggining, middle or end. They all were like snippets, shreds of fabric of something bigger, something reader would have to guess at and never find out.

However, the language of the writing is quite interesting. It is colourful, flowing, poetic and psychodelic in places. Even the fact that most stories are not happy tellings was smoothed over by the turn of the words.

Interesting read for a certain time and place.

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