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Ten Days in the Hills: A Novel

by

Ten Days in the Hills: A Novel Cover

ISBN13: 9781400040612
ISBN10: 1400040612
Condition: Standard
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Review-A-Day

"[Smiley] is in top form at adapting literary precedent to her quirky intent....The novel's numerous dialogues crackle with energy — when Smiley's characters speak, whatever their grotesque flaws, we listen....Not only has Smiley skillfully employed Boccaccio in this excellent adventure; she also has her way with the genre of the Hollywood novel....It's an altogether pleasurable — and sobering — experience, the kind Boccaccio himself might instantly recognize." Daniel Born, The Common Review (read the entire Common review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A glorious new novel from the Pulitzer Prize winner: a big, smart, bawdy tale of love and war, sex and politics, friendship and betrayal — and the allure of the movies. With Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron as her model, Jane Smiley takes us through ten transformative, unforgettable days in the Hollywood hills.

It is the morning after the 2003 Academy Awards. Max — an Oscar-winning writer/director whose fame has waned — and his lover, Elena, luxuriate in bed, still groggy from last night's red-carpet festivities. They are talking about movies, talking about love, and talking about the war in Iraq, recently begun. But soon their house will be full of guests, and guests like these demand attention. There is Max's ex-wife, "the legendary Zoe Cunningham," a dazzling half-Jamaican movie star, with her new lover, the enigmatic healer, Paul (fraudulent? enlightened?). Max's agent, Stoney, a perhaps too easygoing version of his legendary agent father, can't stay away, and neither can Zoe and Max's daughter, Isabel, though she would prefer to maintain her hard-won independence. And of course there is the next-door neighbor, Cassie, who seems to know everyone's secrets.

As they share their stories of Hollywood past and present, watch films in Max's opulent screening room, gossip by the swimming pool, and tussle in the many bedrooms, the tension mounts, sparks fly, and Smiley delivers an exquisitely woven, virtuosic work — a Hollywood novel as only she could fashion it, told with bravura, rich with delightful characters, spiced with her signature wit. It is a joyful, sexy, and wondrously insightful pleasure.

Review:

"Smiley (A Thousand Acres) goes Hollywood in this scintillating tale of an extended Decameron-esque L.A. house party. Gathering at the home of washed-up director Max the morning after the 2003 Academy Awards are his Iraq-obsessed girlfriend, Elena; his movie-diva ex-wife Zoe and her yoga instructor-cum-therapist-cum-boyfriend Paul; Max's insufferably PC daughter, Isabel, and his feckless agent, Stoney, who are conducting a secret affair; Zoe's oracular mother, Delphine; and Max's boyhood friend and token Republican irritant Charlie. They watch movies, negotiate their clashing diets and health regimens, indulge in a roundelay of lasciviously detailed sexual encounters and, most of all, talk — holding absurd, meandering, beguiling conversation about movies, Hollywood, relationships, the war and the state of the world. Through it all, they compulsively reimagine daily life as art: Max dreams of making My Lovemaking with Elena, an all-nude, sexually explicit indie talk-fest inspired by My Dinner with Andre, but Stoney wants him to remake the Cossack epic Taras Bulba. Smiley delivers a delightful, subtly observant sendup of Tinseltown folly, yet she treats her characters, their concern with compelling surfaces and their perpetual quest to capture reality through artifice, with warmth and seriousness. In their shallowness, she finds a kind of profundity." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"A violent war has begun, and a small group of family and friends has taken refuge in a secluded house high in the hills to escape the fighting. Actually, they are hoping to escape news of the fighting. They're in southern California. The fighting is in the Middle East. But most of them don't approve of the conflict, and, besides, the house where they've holed up has a pool and a terrific room... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Each thorny character has an intriguing backstory, feelings run high, and Smiley is regally omnipotent as she advocates for art, objects to war, and considers tricky questions of power and spirit, love and compassion. Archly sexy and brilliant." Booklist

Review:

"Smiley has put herself on the edge....Ten Days in the Hills achieves a kindred richness." John Updike, the New Yorker

Review:

"The parade of stories has no evident thematic unity, and the characters are frequently irritating....A couple of touching moments toward the end can't redeem this surprising misstep from one of our most gifted novelists." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Smiley forges a blazing farce, a fiery satire of contemporary celebrity culture and a rich, simmering meditation on the price of war and fame and desire." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"The reader segues from leering voyeurism to that milder state, companionship, thrilled with such a panorama of foibles, blunders, egos and insights." Miami Herald

Review:

"A rich meditation on love, war and Hollywood." Charlotte Observer

Review:

"Ms. Smiley is capable of delving into her characters' hearts and minds....[B]ut more often than not, the reader feels that Ms. Smiley is...laboriously illustrating observations about Hollywood that have been made many times before." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Review:

"These characters are so listless that the reader loses hope. There will be no discoveries and no confrontations. Being trapped for hundreds of pages in which everybody talks but nothing happens, or will happen, can make a person cranky." Hartford Courant

Review:

"The beauty of Smiley's garrulous new novel is that it sublimates polemics in a breezy narrative upon which she has liberally bestowed her trademark gifts." Elle

Review:

"[S]ly and sexy....[A] satirical frolic reminiscent of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author's Moo, though here with more emphasis on Eros than academe. Recommended." Library Journal

About the Author

Jane Smiley is the author of eight previous works of fiction, including The Age of Grief, The Greenlanders, Ordinary Love & Good Will, A Thousand Acres (which won the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Pulitzer Prize), and Moo. She lives in northern California.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

msjimjone4life, March 7, 2007 (view all comments by msjimjone4life)
I would like to read this book because I am interested in the writer of this book. I think she might be related to me because we both share the same last name.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(7 of 36 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400040612
Author:
Smiley, Jane
Publisher:
Knopf
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Interpersonal Relations
Subject:
Hollywood (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Copyright:
Publication Date:
February 2007
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
A-<br><br>&#8220;If Jane Smiley&#8217;s new Hollyw
Language:
English
Pages:
464
Dimensions:
9.36x6.62x1.50 in. 1.74 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Ten Days in the Hills: A Novel Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 464 pages Alfred A. Knopf - English 9781400040612 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Smiley (A Thousand Acres) goes Hollywood in this scintillating tale of an extended Decameron-esque L.A. house party. Gathering at the home of washed-up director Max the morning after the 2003 Academy Awards are his Iraq-obsessed girlfriend, Elena; his movie-diva ex-wife Zoe and her yoga instructor-cum-therapist-cum-boyfriend Paul; Max's insufferably PC daughter, Isabel, and his feckless agent, Stoney, who are conducting a secret affair; Zoe's oracular mother, Delphine; and Max's boyhood friend and token Republican irritant Charlie. They watch movies, negotiate their clashing diets and health regimens, indulge in a roundelay of lasciviously detailed sexual encounters and, most of all, talk — holding absurd, meandering, beguiling conversation about movies, Hollywood, relationships, the war and the state of the world. Through it all, they compulsively reimagine daily life as art: Max dreams of making My Lovemaking with Elena, an all-nude, sexually explicit indie talk-fest inspired by My Dinner with Andre, but Stoney wants him to remake the Cossack epic Taras Bulba. Smiley delivers a delightful, subtly observant sendup of Tinseltown folly, yet she treats her characters, their concern with compelling surfaces and their perpetual quest to capture reality through artifice, with warmth and seriousness. In their shallowness, she finds a kind of profundity." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "[Smiley] is in top form at adapting literary precedent to her quirky intent....The novel's numerous dialogues crackle with energy — when Smiley's characters speak, whatever their grotesque flaws, we listen....Not only has Smiley skillfully employed Boccaccio in this excellent adventure; she also has her way with the genre of the Hollywood novel....It's an altogether pleasurable — and sobering — experience, the kind Boccaccio himself might instantly recognize." (read the entire Common review)
"Review" by , "Each thorny character has an intriguing backstory, feelings run high, and Smiley is regally omnipotent as she advocates for art, objects to war, and considers tricky questions of power and spirit, love and compassion. Archly sexy and brilliant."
"Review" by , "Smiley has put herself on the edge....Ten Days in the Hills achieves a kindred richness."
"Review" by , "The parade of stories has no evident thematic unity, and the characters are frequently irritating....A couple of touching moments toward the end can't redeem this surprising misstep from one of our most gifted novelists."
"Review" by , "Smiley forges a blazing farce, a fiery satire of contemporary celebrity culture and a rich, simmering meditation on the price of war and fame and desire."
"Review" by , "The reader segues from leering voyeurism to that milder state, companionship, thrilled with such a panorama of foibles, blunders, egos and insights."
"Review" by , "A rich meditation on love, war and Hollywood."
"Review" by , "Ms. Smiley is capable of delving into her characters' hearts and minds....[B]ut more often than not, the reader feels that Ms. Smiley is...laboriously illustrating observations about Hollywood that have been made many times before."
"Review" by , "These characters are so listless that the reader loses hope. There will be no discoveries and no confrontations. Being trapped for hundreds of pages in which everybody talks but nothing happens, or will happen, can make a person cranky."
"Review" by , "The beauty of Smiley's garrulous new novel is that it sublimates polemics in a breezy narrative upon which she has liberally bestowed her trademark gifts."
"Review" by , "[S]ly and sexy....[A] satirical frolic reminiscent of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author's Moo, though here with more emphasis on Eros than academe. Recommended."
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