Synopses & Reviews
Bruce Wagner has been hailed for his powerful prose, his Swiftian satire, and the scalpel-sharp wit that has, in each of his novels, dissected and sometimes disemboweled Hollywood excess. andlt;BRandgt; In his most ambitious book to date, andlt;Iandgt;Still Holding,andlt;/Iandgt; Wagner immerses readers in post-September 11 Hollywood, revealing as much rabid ambition, rampant narcissism, and unchecked mental illness as ever. He infiltrates the gilded life of a superstar actor/sex symbol/practicing Buddhist, the compromised world of a young actress whose big break comes when she's hired to play a corpse on andlt;Iandgt;Six Feet Under,andlt;/Iandgt; and the strange parallel universe of look-alikes -- an entire industry in which struggling actors are hired out for parties and conventions to play their famous counterparts. Alternately hilarious and heartfelt, ferocious and empathetic, andlt;Iandgt;Still Holdingandlt;/Iandgt; is Bruce Wagner's most expertly calibrated work.
"[A] shorter, sharper tale [than I'll Let You Go]....Wagner's ability to limn the mercurial ways of Hollywood is astonishing, and he still writes with a fiery grace....A brutal phantasmagoria on the pleasures and perils of the dream factory." Kirkus Reviews
"A millennial heir to Nathanael West....Mr. Wagner serves up [his] themes with his customary black humor and unforgiving eye, proving to fans of Force Majeure and I'm Losing You that his knack for satire is as cutting as ever." Michiku Kakutani, The New York Times
"[A] scathingly caustic, salaciously crude, and sardonically campy morality tale...Wagner limns an over-the-top expose of that shallow society's most exploitative bottom-feeders." Carol Haggas, Booklist
"Alternately brilliant and cluttered...moves along in fits and starts....Though Wagner packs his twists too tight, leaving the reader gasping for air, this convoluted chiaroscuro offers probing insights into the human condition." Publishers Weekly
"Rather than a Page Six takedown of celebrity pretense, Still Holding is an instructive study in what one character calls 'the messy, fragrant anarchy of impermanence.'" Chris Lehmann, The Washington Post Book World
"[A]t its best [Wagner's] prose reads like some unholy combination of Rick Moody, Anthony Lane and the Page Six gossip columnist Richard Johnson. That is to say, he's chilly, funny and cruelly eagle-eyed all at once." Dwight Garner, The New York Times Book Review
"In Still Holding, [Wagner] takes the Hollywood art of name-dropping to a new pinnacle.....This book is just sardonic enough to be hilarious, and just serious enough to be devastating." Janet Maslin
"It's a gorgeous freak show, and part of the pleasure is that Wagner seems to be having so much fun." New York Magazine
"Still Holding is Bruce Wagner's greatest novel. It is as if Louis-Ferdinand Céline were retelling the Arabian Nights. Only Wagner's Arabia is Hollywood and the nights never end. It is an uncompromising, hilarious, achingly sad, flat-out brilliant book." Jonathan Carroll
"Bruce Wagner writes like a wizard and knows his Hollywood." John Updike
"Bruce Wagner is a moralist whose misfortune it is to have, as his subject, the self-crazed, affect-free, excess-addicted world capital of amorality, Hollywood. His hard luck is our good fortune. In blazing, high-speed prose he tears into his subject with a taboo-breaking savage rage disguised as wild comedy. He is a visionary posing as a farceur." Salman Rushdie
"With Still Holding, Wagner surpasses everything he's done before. For drama and sheer narrative force, this is the crowning achievement of his Cellular Trilogy. While reading it you'll find yourself thinking: This is the great Hollywood novel." Bret Easton Ellis
In Still Holding, the third in the Cellular Trilogy that began with I'm Losing You and I'll Let You Go, Wagner immerses readers in post-September 11 Hollywood, revealing as much rabid ambition, rampant narcissism, and unchecked mental illness as ever. It is a scabrous, epiphanic, sometimes horrifying portrait of an entangled community of legitimate stars, delusional wanna-bes, and psychosociopaths. Wagner infiltrates the gilded life of a superstar actor/sex symbol/practicing Buddhist, the compromised world of a young actress whose big break comes when she's hired to play a corpse on Six Feet Under, and the strange parallel universe of look-alikes an entire industry in which struggling actors are hired out for parties and conventions to play their famous counterparts.
A twenty-first-century Nathanael West with a gift for Swiftian satire, Bruce Wagner is on familiar territory and at the height of his powers in this brilliant, scathing novel of a Hollywood adrift in unchecked ambition and unbridled excess. In "blazing, high-speed prose" (Salman Rushdie), Wagner presides over a tangled collection of stars, celebrity wannabes, and sociopaths. Among the players and the played are Kit Lightfoot, the superstar actor, sex symbol, and practicing Buddhist whose charmed life is thrown into disarray by a disgruntled fan; and Becca, a struggling young actress and Drew Barrymore lookalike whose first big break is playing a corpse on Six Feet Under. Excoriating the twenty-four-hour feeding frenzy of self-promotion, self-improvement, and celebrity worship, Still Holding is at once heartfelt and hilarious, shrewd and complex, savage and sensational.
About the Author
Bruce Wagner is the author of Force Majeure, I'm Losing You, I'll Let You Go, and the television miniseries Wild Palms. Two films adapted from his books (I'm Losing You and Women in Film) have been shown at the Telluride, Toronto, Venice, and Sundance film festivals. He lives in Los Angeles.
Table of Contents
The Three Jewels
The Three Poisons
The Three Mysteries