Synopses & Reviews
For years, painter Isabel Raven has made an almost-living forging Impressionist masterpieces to decorate the McMansions of the not-quite-Sotheby's-auction rich. But when she serendipitously hits on an idea that turns her into the It Girl of the L.A. art scene, her career takes off just as the rest of her life heads south. Her personal-chef boyfriend is having a wild sexual dalliance with the teenage self-styled Latina Britney Spears. If Isabel refuses to participate in an excruciatingly humiliating ad campaign, her sociopathic art dealer is threatening to gut her like an emu. And her reclusive physicist father has conclusively proven that the end of the world is just around the corner.
Now, with the Apocalypse looming and with only a disaffected Dutch-Eskimo billionaire philanthropist and his dissolute thirteen-year-old adopted daughter to guide her there's barely enough time remaining for Isabel to reexamine her fragile delusional existence...and the delusional reality of her schizophrenic native city.
"Selwood's debut opens in Los Angeles, in the middle of Isabelle Raven's meteoric rise to fame, as her obnoxious art dealer, Juan Dahlman, orchestrates her transformation from unknown hack into... 'It Girl' artist. Juan's efforts include circulating on the Internet nude photos of Isabelle and her participation in an ad campaign for vaginal rejuvenation surgery, as well as pimping her out to a dot-com magnate who purchases her work. Isabelle mopes and halfheartedly battles her abject artistic prostitution as she dodges earthquake-related damage to her apartment building and wonders whether her chef-to-the-stars boyfriend is cheating on her with a sixteen-year-old wannabe Aguilera. The novel is packed with pop culture caricatures (notably in Isabelle's paintings, which are re-creations of masterpieces updated with pop icons; 'The Death of Marat,' for instance, features a turbaned and bloody Kurt Cobain) and amusing bit players, but the cultural artifacts don't build to a larger statement; they simply pile on. Selwood is a talented writer and his novel is frequently funny, though readers may wish for more substance." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Selwood's laugh-out-loud madcap debut mocks today's digitized, hard-sell, sex-obsessed world as it teeters somewhere between carnival and riot. With high appeal for hip young readers attuned to the bittersweet feeling of exhilarated alienation, Selwood should have a bright writing future." Booklist
About the Author
Jonathan Selwood grew up in Hollywood. He received an MFA from Columbia University and is married and lives in Portland, OR.