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Unlubricatedby Arthur Nersesian
Synopses & Reviews
A fierce and hysterical tale of self-destruction on the road to being discovered.
Hannah is a struggling actress living in New York's Tribeca, and like any young thesp she is bent on success: finding paying jobs that offer good material, not just mindless roles for eager and nubile bodies. When she comes across a lost play by a dead 1980s icon — brilliantly written, with the perfect role that will display her acting chops — she thinks she's hit the jackpot.
But when she becomes the play's de facto producer and lands a gig on an indie film, she's forced to deal with the nonstop whirlwind of backstage maneuverings and outrageous personalities...and with the fact that she witnessed the falling of the Twin Towers from blocks away. When Hannah loses her coveted role to an old rival, she learns a shocking truth that could bring her whole world tumbling down.
Dynamic and moving, with trademark Nersesian moments of cutting humor and truth, Unlubricated is a tale of down-and-dirty off-Broadway New York theatre, sex, love, and life in the wake of September 11.
"With a title like Unlubricated and an epigram by radical feminist Valerie Solanas ('Eliminate men and women will shape up'), Nersesian (Chinese Takeout, etc.) foregrounds his countercultural chops in his latest chronicle of lower Manhattan's demimonde. Nersesian's raw, smutty sensibility is perfect for capturing the gritty city artistic life, but this novel has as much substance as style. In the dramatic, agonizing aftermath of 9/11, a scrappy young actress named Hannah struggles to make something of herself. When she overhears a man discussing Unlubricated, a 'lost work' by a deceased Solanasesque author named Lilly Bull, she strong-arms him (after all, she saved his life in college) into letting her act in and produce the play. The book quickly develops into a fast-paced, sexy ensemble play-within-a-play, populated by a cast of wonderfully drawn characters, including a pathologically self-important British director and a drug-addled actor on a very slippery slope. Nersesian continuously ratchets up the suspense, always keeping the fate of the production uncertain — and at the last minute he throws a curveball that makes the previous chaos calm by comparison. Nersesian is a first-rate observer of his native New York, and while the book is a little long-winded and slow to start, and the denouement feels a bit hokey, these are minor squeaks in an otherwise slick, well-oiled machine. Agent, David Mandel at Sanford Greenberger." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Though a nice portrait of the downtown scene, it will wear thin on outsiders." Kirkus Reviews
"[Nersesian] knows his territory intimately and paces the escalating chaos with a precision that would do Wodehouse proud." Time Out New York
"A pitch-perfect approximation of the New York artistic life." Entertainment Weekly
"Nersesian makes us eager to see what happens when the curtain finally rises." New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Arthur Nersesian was born and raised in New York City and has been teaching English at Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College in the South Bronx since 1990.
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