Steve Martin Shopgirl

ISBN 13: 9780753812839

Shopgirl

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9780753812839: Shopgirl
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Mirabelle works as a shop assistant in the glove department at Niemans, L.A.'s finest store; she also draws darkly gothic pictures at night. Adrift in the world and lonely, her situation is not improved by the fact that hardly anyone buys the kind of gloves that Niemans sell so she spends most of her day leaning on the counter staring into empty space. There are two men in her life - Jeremy, a man who stencils amplifiers for a living, and Mr Ray Porter, an older man and millionaire who applies logic to relationships, and is serially confused and disappointed. In this exquisitely self-contained novel, Steve Martin touches on the surface horrors of L.A. - the false noses, lips, breasts and people - without exaggeration or explicitly playing for laughs. It's insightful, dark, funny and tender Shopgirl is an incredibly strong piece of fiction.

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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 is a successful actor and writer.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780786885688: Shopgirl: A Novella

Featured Edition

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

9780786866588: Shopgirl: A Novella

Hachet..., 2000
Hardcover

9780786891078: Shopgirl: A Novella

Hachet..., 2006
Softcover

9781401308278: Shopgirl: A Novella

Hyperion, 2005
Softcover

9789050003612: Shopgirl: A Novella

Hachet..., 2001
Softcover

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