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Innocents and Others

Spiotta, Dana

2,121 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 150112272X / ISBN 13: 9781501122729
Published by Scribner, New York, 2016
Condition: As New Hardcover
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About this Item

An UNREAD copy in AS NEW condition of Dana Spiotta's stimulating new novel. SIGNED by the author on the full title page (not a tipped in separate page). First edition, first printing (with full number sequence starting with "1.". Bookseller Inventory # 160621

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Innocents and Others

Publisher: Scribner, New York

Publication Date: 2016

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:As New

Dust Jacket Condition: As New

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

From “a major, unnervingly intelligent writer” (Joy Williams)...“rich, funny, learned, and tonally fresh” (Jeffrey Eugenides), comes a novel about aspiration, film, work, and love.

Dana Spiotta’s new novel is about two women, best friends, who grow up in LA in the 80s and become filmmakers. Meadow and Carrie have everything in common—except their views on sex, power, movie-making, and morality. Their lives collide with Jelly, a loner whose most intimate experience is on the phone. Jelly is older, erotic, and mysterious. She cold calls powerful men and seduces them not through sex but through listening. She invites them to reveal themselves, and they do.

Spiotta is “a wonderfully gifted writer with an uncanny feel for the absurdities and sadnesses of contemporary life, and an unerring ear for how people talk and try to cope today” (The New York Times). Innocents and Others is her greatest novel—wise, artful, and beautiful.

Review:

An Amazon Best Book of March 2016: Typically brainy and surprisingly warm, Dana Spiotta’s Innocents and Others is the story of two best friends, filmmakers both, who have very different ideas about everything from movies to morality. Jelly is a third woman, more obviously messed up but probably, weirdly, as powerful in a certain world; she cold-calls important men and emotionally seduces them with her “active listening.” How these three women collide is the plot here. But how it is that all of our devices--technological and otherwise-- meant to help us communicate really do the opposite is the subtext. In that way--and for its clear, frank prose--Innocents and Others reminded me of Jennifer Egan’s Visit to the Goon Squad; like that novel, this one will get under your skin. --Sara Nelson

Guest Review by Jenny Offill

Photo Credit: Emily Tobey Photo Credit: Jessica Marx

"Thousands of short stories and novels have been made into movies,” Don Delillo said once. “I just try to reverse the process."

But what would such a hybrid look like? Is it possible to combine the sweeping vistas of an epic film with the minute psychological detail of a realist novel? Yes, it turns out. In her brilliantly cinematic new novel, Innocents and Others, Dana Spiotta shows us exactly how it is done.

On the surface, it is the story of two female filmmakers, long-time friends who share memories and a sense of ambition, but end up with very different careers. Meadow Mori makes complex, emotionally disturbing documentaries, many of which blur the line between her subjects’ active participation and their unwitting coercion. She lives the life of an experimental artist, always pushing herself to the edges of what she knows and sometimes further. Her childhood friend, Carrie Wexler, takes a less radical, more commercial route. Over the years, their friendship is strained by their aesthetic differences and they start to drift apart.

But this is only one piece of a much larger story Spiotta is telling about love and loneliness and the search for solace and meaning in an increasingly fragmented world. She perfectly illuminates the cultural and technological obsessions of the era, bringing to the surface an uncanny mix of free-floating dread and creeping alienation that feels very modern.

The novel also moves out beyond the lives of Meadow and Carrie and lets us into stories of two other women who live far from their privileged worlds. Meadow makes a film about Jelly, a telephone con artist who convinces Hollywood men to give her not money, but a sort of disembodied love. Later, Meadow talks Carrie into collaborating with her to make a film about another lost soul, Sarah Mills, who has been imprisoned because of a terrible crime she confessed to in her youth. There is a mystery and radiance to these crisscrossing storylines that deepens and complicates all that has come before. Neither film projects turns out as planned, but the excitement of these sections is that we get to experience the same rollercoaster of emotions that the filmmakers and their audiences do as we watch the process from idea to execution. Spiotta ingeniously uses a mix of transcripts, texts, blog posts and interviews to make Meadow and Carrie’s struggle to make good art and ultimately to live good lives, thrillingly complicated and real.

I came away from this bold and generous novel thinking a great deal about innocence and guilt and those small moments of redemption that allow us to live with our miscalculations and mistakes.

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