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Cause Celeb

Fielding, Helen

5,985 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0330332694 / ISBN 13: 9780330332699
Published by Picador, 1994
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Partners & Crime Mystery Booksellers (New York, NY, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Signed first UK edition of author's first novel, in which her acid-dipped pen details the tribulations of an organizer of a benefit concert in Africa to help the victims of famine. Way before Bridget Jones, Ms. Fielding demonstrates her talent and her heart. Fine book in dustwrapper having one faint crease to front flap, top corner. Signed on title page. Bookseller Inventory # 0802190003

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Cause Celeb

Publisher: Picador

Publication Date: 1994

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed

Edition: First Edition.

About this title

Synopsis:

Cause Celeb - the critically acclaimed debut novel from a writer with a boundless grasp of the existential and the uproarious - has just landed in America. Deftly skewering the world of celebrity fundraising, Fielding has created an alternately comic and moving satire that straddles the glitter of media London and the horrors of an African refugee crisis. Rosie Richardson, a twenty-something literary puffette, is in a totally non-functional relationship with an unevolved but irresistible adult male - a hotshot TV presenter who plunges her into the glitzy, bitchy, inane lifestyle of London's It people. Disillusioned with the celebrity world, Rosie escapes to run a refugee camp in the African jungle. When famine strikes and a massive refugee influx heads for the camp, governments and agencies drag their heels. Bringing her former media savvy to the fore, realizing the only way to get food out fast is to bring celebrities first, Rosie turns to the life and man she fled to organize a star-studded emergency appeal from famine-racked Africa. Seamlessly bridging cataclysm and farce through the insights of a modern-day everywoman, Cause Celeb crackles with insight into fame, passion, and altruism in our time.

Review:

Helen Fielding's novel Bridget Jones's Diary had a meandering, rather shapeless shape (as diaries will). Both fans and critics of that 1998 smash hit will be surprised to find that the author's first novel, previously unpublished in the United States, is a lot more sophisticated in structure. And Cause Celeb is nearly as fun as Bridget Jones's Diary, which is saying a lot, especially since Fielding's debut is about African famine. The narrator, Rosie Richardson, runs a relief camp in the invented country of Nambula. Henry, the most flippant member of her staff, wears a T-shirt that tersely lists the various motivations for relief workers to come to Africa: "(a) Missionary? (b) Mercenary? (c) Misfit? (d) Broken heart?" As Rosie herself admits, she is "a c/d hybrid and soft in the head to boot."

Flashbacks reveal that in London, Rosie had fallen in love with an erratic, emotionally abusive (but adorable!) newscaster. As she trailed about town in Oliver's wake, she came to know his in-crowd of movie stars, directors, and musicians. Her split with this media magnet is what initially sent her to Africa. Four years into Rosie's exile, however, a plague of locusts descends on the crops of a neighboring country, and refugees begin to flood her camp. She decides there's only one thing to do: go back home and round up her old celeb pals for a benefit TV special.

It should come as no shock that the London sequences are great fun, as is the climactic collision between movie stars and refugees. But the real treat is Fielding's handling of the camp sequences. Rosie and her staff struggle with their petty emotions as they confront the incredible suffering in front of them. Henry watches in disbelief as some starving refugees move their tent to a better location: "Never mind the old malnutrition--you go for the view." A newswoman visits the camp, and, fraught with emotion after first seeing the starving children, she caresses Rosie, whose response is this: "I hope the famine hadn't turned her into a lesbian." Fielding has found a voice that is both compassionate and irreverent, a rare and wonderful combination. --Claire Dederer

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