Set in contemporary Los Angeles, this mature debut shines an unexpected light on this most duplicitous of cities. Although all the characters in Babe in Paradise live in Los Angeles, none of them partake of the glamour and success that mark the city. Marisa Silver's charactersa community-college teacher, an equipment-rental store manager, a limousine driver, and a struggling actress among themlive on the periphery of the city's allure. Babe of the title story must confront the complete dissolution of her past when a fire threatens to engulf the hillside house she and her mother share. A car-jacking forces the young husband and wife of "What I Saw from Where I Stood" to confront the loss of a child and the way in which this loss has reshaped their marriage. The unforgettable characters in Babe in Paradise dwell in the Los Angeles of seismic geological change, of racial unease, of parched desert landscapes littered with the detritus of urban ambition. Silver has a genius for making us care deeply about her characters, their everyday desperations and hard-won hopes.
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Marisa Silver made her fictional debut in The New Yorker. She has previously worked as a feature film director and lives in Los Angeles.From Publishers Weekly:
Silver sets her oblique, atmospheric tales against the backdrop of a sprawling Los Angeles in this uneven but promising first short story collection. Many of the nine stories are equipped with painfully real characters and strikingly inventive writing, but too often an exciting premise leads to a dead end, and characters metamorphose in ways that go unexplored. In "Statues," for example, a recently married couple, struggling to feel at home in L.A., winds up at the home of two adult-film impresarios, where without much preamble (or motivation) the young wife asks them to "make a movie of her." After an anticlimactic filming scene, the story ends abruptly in the middle of the couple's tense ride home. Silver may be at her best when channeling the intensely tribal world of girls: through a character named Babe, featured in three of the stories, we see the fate that awaits a young woman in L.A. who is neither beautiful, happy nor rich and more gratifyingly, we see how she manages to redeem herself. Several stories offer an alternately affectionate and frightening view of L.A.'s car culture. In "What I Saw from Where I Stood," one of the more powerful and taut entries, a carjacking spurs a tragic emotional response in a young woman who has recently miscarried a baby, while her husband looks on, helpless to save her. As a whole, the collection is a nod to the "other" great American metropolis: L.A.'s unique ability to be "everywhere and nowhere at the same time" is carefully, almost reverently documented. Sporadically illuminating if ultimately disappointing, Silver's tales aim to show how, with a little bravery, anyone can learn to love the City of Angels. 5-city author tour.
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Book Description W. W. Norton & Company, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110393020037
Book Description W. W. Norton & Company. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0393020037 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.1063857