Steve Martin Shopgirl

ISBN 13: 9780743506670

Shopgirl

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9780743506670: Shopgirl
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Working as a salesgirl at the Beverly Hills Neiman Marcus, Mirabelle, a beautiful aspiring artist, embarks on a love affair with Ray Porter, a wealthy, lonely businessman she meets at the store, and together they struggle to understand the meaning of love, in a bittersweet tale of romance. A first novel. Simultaneous.

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Review:

Steve Martin's first foray into fiction is as assured as it is surprising. Set in Los Angeles, its fascination with the surreal body fascism of the upper classes feels like the comedian's familiar territory, but the shopgirl of the book's title may surprise his fans. Mirabelle works in the glove department of Neiman's, "selling things that nobody buys any more." Spending her days waiting for customers to appear, Mirabelle "looks like a puppy standing on its hind legs, and the two brown dots of her eyes, set in the china plate of her face, make her seem very cute and noticeable." Lonely and vulnerable, she passes her evenings taking prescription drugs and drawing "dead things," while pursuing an on-off relationship with the hopeless Jeremy, who possesses "a slouch so extreme that he appears to have left his skeleton at home." Then Mr. Ray Porter steps into Mirabelle's life. He is much older, rich, successful, divorced, and selfish, desiring her "without obligation." Complicating the picture is Mirabelle's voracious rival, her fellow Neiman's employee Lisa, who uses sex "for attracting and discarding men."

The mutual incomprehension, psychological damage, and sheer vacuity practiced by all four of Martin's characters sees Shopgirl veer rather uncomfortably between a comedy of manners and a much darker work. There are some startling passages of description and interior monologue, but the characters are often rather hazy types. Martin tries too hard in his attempt to write a psychologically intense novel about West Coast anomie, but Shopgirl is still an enjoyable, if rather light, read. --Jerry Brotton

About the Author:

Steve Martin has had huge success as a film actor and screenwriter, with such credits as Roxanne, L.A. Story, and Bowfinger. He has also starred in Father of the Bride, Parenthood, and The Spanish Prisoner. He's won Emmys for his television writing and two Grammys for comedy albums. In addition to his bestselling collection of comic pieces, Pure Drivel, he has written a play, Picasso at the Lapin Agile. His work appears frequently in The New Yorker and The New York Times. He lives in Los Angeles.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780786885688: Shopgirl: A Novella

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ISBN 10:  0786885688 ISBN 13:  9780786885688
Publisher: Hachette Books, 2001
Softcover

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9781401308278: Shopgirl: A Novella

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Steve Martin
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio (2000)
ISBN 10: 0743506677 ISBN 13: 9780743506670
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