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Misfitby Adam Braver
Synopses & Reviews
Melding facts with imagination, Misfit is centered around the last weekend of Marilyn Monroe's life, which, wanting to get away from the stress of a lawsuit filed against her by Twentieth Century Fox, she spent at Frank Sinatra's resort, the Cal Neva Lodge, in Lake Tahoe. Using this weekend as a springboard, the novel explores moments throughout Monroe's career when, faced with various opportunities, she altered her persona — from her days as a child, to her marriages with Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller, to her studies with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio, and, finally, to her role in the film Miller wrote for her, The Misfits.
"In his latest historical reimagining (after taking on JFK's assassination in his novel Nov 22, 1963), Braver explores Marilyn Monroe's fatal struggle to simultaneously maintain her personal identity and her public image. The novel is set during the last weekend of Monroe's life, an ill-fated attempt to 'disappear for a while' to Frank Sinatra's Cal Neva Lodge at Lake Tahoe and escape the demands of Hollywood's 'industry clowns.' From that dark, paranoid weekend, Braver delves into the events of Monroe's past — from being discovered by an army photographer while working in a wartime factory through her failed marriages to Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller — injecting each scene with a swelling sense of melancholia. We see her wrestling with image and reality both at her wedding to DiMaggio, in which her gaze towards the cameras reveals 'not romance but the belief in it,' and in her therapy sessions where she realizes that her old life as 'Norma Jeane was ended years ago.' Seamlessly blending fact and fiction, Braver penetrates the vivacious veneer of Monroe's on-screen persona to reveal a woman so adept at embodying a role, that 'it swallows her whole.' Through his gradual unfolding of Monroe's painful upbringing and her desire to be taken seriously in a world that values the superficial, Braver makes Monroe's tragic end freshly poignant. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Misfit is an incredible act of imagination. Adam Braver writes with wit and precision and real empathy, telling us something new and vital about one of our most over-scrutinized figures, while restoring some of the humanity that the glare of celebrity has stripped away." Scott O'Connor, author of Untouchable
"Adam Braver is not the first to interpret the true legend of Norma Jeane Baker, but it may be that he has gone the deepest. Beautiful, aching, fearsome — Misfit is a hall of mirrors that we all know, even those of us lucky enough not to have arrived there as Marilyn Monroe." Zachary Lazar, author of Sway
"Once again, Adam Braver turns his prodigious imagination and keen eye on an iconic figure and breathes life into her. His Marilyn will break your heart." Ann Hood, author of The Red Thread
"Misfit is amazing. Yes, were all familiar with the very publicly overexposed story of Marilyn Monroe's life and death. And no, I'm not going to say that this follows in the path of anyone, or that Marilyn was herself a symbol, or that the book, itself, speaks to some general, important metaphor about America. Instead, it's a book about the ability, the power of the author to penetrate the cell membrane, to pierce the heart of his recognizable yet perplexingly vague subject, and in so doing, to implicate the reader. It's about how someone can be explored externally, while also internally examined: a book about identity, privacy, and intimacy that both exposes and conceals the subject. As, it seems to me, Marilyn acted while retaining an unknowable essence, so that she was hugely projected upon yet inhabited no life comprehensible to her. Ann Beattie, author of Mrs. Nixon: A Novelist Imagines a Life
"Adam Braver has a wonderfully rich imagination and his grasp of historical characters and settings is both deep and natural. I would gladly read anything he writes." Dan Chaon, author of Await Your Reply
Marilyn Monroe is one of the most iconic figures in the history of Hollywood, and her legendary work on the big screen is eclipsed only perhaps by the lengend of her life off it. Adam Bravers Misfit centers on the last weekend of Monroes life, which she spent at Frank Sinatras resort, the Cal Neva Lodge, in Lake Tahoe. Melding facts with fiction, Braver takes moments throughout Monroes life—her childhood, her marriages with Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller, her studies with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio, and her role in The Misfits, the film Miller wrote for her—and explores how they informed her tragic end.
About the Author
Also the author of November 22, 1963, Adam Braver's books have been selected for the Barnes and Noble Discover New Writers program, Borders' Original Voices series, the IndieNext list, and twice for the Book Sense list, as well as having been translated into Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and French. He is on faculty and writer-in-residence at Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI. In addition to having taught for the University of New Orleans' Low Residency MFA program, he's also been a regular writer-in-residence at the New York State Summer Writers Institute.
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