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A great American novel, Sunnyside contains multitudes. Glen David Gold follows his bestselling debut (Carter Beats the Devil) with an audaciously imagined history of Hollywood at the start of World War I, so unceasingly vibrant that even the book's credits are a pleasure to read.
Synopses & Reviews
From the author of the acclaimed best seller Carter Beats the Devil comes a grand entertainment with the brilliantly realized figure of Charlie Chaplin at its center: a novel at once cinematic and intimate, thrilling and darkly comic, that dramatizes the moment when American capitalism, a world at war, and the emerging mecca of Hollywood intersect to spawn an enduring culture of celebrity.
Sunnyside opens on a winter day in 1916 during which Chaplin is spotted in more than eight hundred places simultaneously, an extraordinary mass delusion. From there, the novel follows the overlapping fortunes of three men: Leland Wheeler, son of the world's last (and worst) Wild West star, as he heads to the battlefields of France; snobbish Hugo Black, drafted to fight under the towering General Edmund Ironside in America's doomed engagement with Russia; and Chaplin himself, as he faces a tightening vice of complications — studio moguls, questions about his patriotism, his unchecked heart, and, most menacing of all, his mother — to finally make a movie as good as he was.
With a cast of enthralling characters, both historical and fictional — Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, a thieving Girl Scout, a lovestruck film theorist, Russian princesses, even Rin Tin Tin — Sunnyside is a heartrending, spellbinding novel about American promises both kept and betrayed.
"A breathless stupendous novel that recreates both a young brash America on the verge of becoming itself, and Chaplin, one of its most bewitching quixotic citizens. From lighthouse to Hollywood to starlets to war to stardom to madness to genius Gold's startling narrative carries us across the world and back. Gold proves himself yet again to be the hungriest craftiest funniest and most humane novelist we have." Junot Díaz
"Gold [is a] masterful storyteller... The cascade of historic details Gold generates is breathtaking, but it is his electrifying characters, wildly inventive action replete with comedic mishaps and witty dialogue, and trenchant insights into the absurdity of war and the mythic dimension of movies that gather force and velocity to make this such a hilarious, brilliant, and transporting novel." Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review)
From the author of the acclaimed bestseller Carter Beats the Devil comes a novel that dramatizes the moment when American capitalism, a world at war, and the emerging mecca of Hollywood intersect to spawn an enduring culture of celebrity.
About the Author
Glen David Gold's first novel, Carter Beats the Devil, has been translated into fourteen languages. His short stories and essays have appeared in McSweeney's, Playboy, and The New York Times Magazine. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, Alice Sebold.
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