Synopses & Reviews
After years of working a dead-end job at an insurance company in New Jersey, Hugh Waters finally sells his screenplay to a major Hollywood studio. But when the young, Ivy League hotshot Hedda Chase takes over as top executive, she finds his story violent, unconvincing, and riddled with clichés, and quickly pulls the plug on the deal. So Hugh hops on a plane to L.A. hoping to talk things over-or perhaps he'll find another way to prove that his script isn't so implausible after all...
Evocative of Patricia Highsmith, and set against high-voltage backdrops from Hollywood to Abu Dhabi, A Stranger Like You is a taut and terrifying thriller about the lengths to which we'll go to make our dreams come true.
"A pithy, ironic L.A. noir full of broken dreams and snappy repartee." Stewart O'Nan
"[An] intense, provocative thriller about power, war, and the portrayal of women in film.... Brundage brilliantly shifts back and forth between Hugh, Hedda, and Denny, an injured Iraq war veteran, who plays a key role in Hedda's fate. The action culminates in illuminating revelations about the intersection of theater with reality." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Elizabeth Brundage is the real thing-an ambitious, serious novelist. Not for her, small bites. She uses Dickensian coincidence and the Russians' sense of tragic destiny, all while observing modern life with a biting acuity and a throwaway hipness-and she dares you to care for characters whose self-contempt, earnest longings, and sad ingratiation are uncomfortably unalloyed. Brundage imbues Hollywood with a mystical super-reality, and scrubs it of anything stock. I couldn't stop turning the pages of this action-packed, poetic, large-souled novel. And I closed it with a pounding heart." Sheila Weller, bestselling author of Girls Like Us
"Brundage excels at pushing her characters to their limits and then reflecting on the consequences of their behavior." Booklist
By the acclaimed novelist ofAll Things Cease to Appear
An intense, provocative thriller Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Hedda Chase is a top-flight executive producer at Gladiator Films, fast-tracked in the business since she graduated from Yale. An aggressive businesswoman, she recently pulled the plug on a film project initiated by one of her predecessors. The screenwriter on the project was Hugh Waters, a wannabe with a dead-end marriage and a day job at an insurance company. This script was his ticket out-until Hedda tampered with his plans, claiming his violence was over the top, his premise not credible, and his ending implausible. Hugh decides to prove otherwise by staging his script s ending and casting Hedda Chase as the victim. He flies to Los Angeles and finds Hedda, kidnaps her, and locks her in the trunk of her vintage BMW in the parking lot at LAX. He leaves the keys in the ignition, the parking ticket on the dash, and lets destiny take its course.
This is the set-up for a troubling, smart, deadly look at women and images of women, at media as a high-stakes game and the selling of a war as theatre. Brundage s Los Angeles is a casual battleground that trades carelessly in lives and dreams. As always, her characters are complicated, surprising, and intense in this high velocity, provocative novel."
About the Author
Elizabeth Brundage is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the NYU Film School, as well as a former screenwriting fellow at the American Film institute. She lives with her family in New York.