The Confessions of Edward Day (Vintage Contemporaries)

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9780307389206: The Confessions of Edward Day (Vintage Contemporaries)

A brilliant new novel set in the bohemian, glamorous theater world of 1970s New York, by the Orange Prize-winning author of Property.
 
It’s the 1970s in New York—rents are cheap, love is free, and with the explosion of theater venues off and off-off Broadway, aspiring actors will work for nothing in no clothes. Enter Edward Day, who wants more than anything to move an unsuspecting audience to an experience of emotional truth. But he must also contend with the drama of his own life: he is locked in a bitter rivalry with fellow actor Guy Margate, with whom he shares a marked physical resemblance and a fatal attraction to the beautiful, talented, and all-too-available Madeleine Delavergne. Edward’s pursuit of Madeleine is complicated by the fact that he owes Guy his life. In this riveting tale of paranoia, passion, jealousy, and relentless ambition, Edward will learn that the truth, in the theater as in life, is ever elusive and never inert.

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Review:

Amazon Exclusive: Jane Smiley Reviews The Confessions of Edward Day

Jane Smiley is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Thousand Acres and more than ten other works of fiction, as well as three works of nonfiction, including a critically acclaimed biography of Charles Dickens. In 2001 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in northern California. Read her exclusive Amazon guest review of The Confessions of Edward Day:

Novels about actors are often very sour and condescending (I am thinking of you, Somerset Maugham!), but The Confessions of Edward Day is such a lovely book. It really is a self-contained gem, like a pearl or a faceted stone, never purporting to be more than it seems to be (a tale of ambitious young actors struggling to get ahead in the New York theater scene in the 1970s), but with such real beauty and resonance that the reader can’t help appreciating Valerie Martin’s unfailing wisdom and skill. Edward himself is a sympathetic character, and I always admire a woman writer who seems to write effortlessly from a man’s point of view (especially if she has also written effortlessly from a woman’s point of view in the past, as Valerie Martin has done so often). Lovers of the theater (of any era) will love this book because of its insights into how plays come together (or don’t) and, I hope, because of its play-like structure (very neat, and yet suspenseful, too). As with Property and Mary Reilly especially (two of my Martin favorites), I really felt the depth of Martin’s knowledge of her subject, and yet she carries it easily. Lovers of the novel are in for a treat. I couldn’t help marveling at Martin’s ability not to make a mistake—to make me feel absolutely present at those sometimes quite dramatic scenes, and yet to keep all those thematic balls in the air, to juggle her motifs ever so gracefully, to honor the mysteriousness of her subject, but make those mysteries crystal clear. I read this in two days--after about page ten, I didn’t want to put it down. I do think Valerie Martin is one of the best novelists we have. There is always more in every book than meets the eye. The Confessions of Edward Day--highly recommended! --Jane Smiley

(Photo © Mark Bennington)

About the Author:

VALERIE MARTIN is the author of eight novels, including Trespass, Italian Fever, The Great Divorce, Mary Reilly, and the 2003 Orange Prize-winning Property, and three collections of short fiction.

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