A Forties screenwriter - the rich and childless and elegant and
ever-so-literary Millicent Rappaport - becomes obsessed with a
shadowy film star, Molly Lamanna, and keeps a journal of her
obsession. After Millicent's death, a Tucson memorabilia collector
named Hollander works on uncovering the braided trails both of
Millicent's journal and of Molly's highly mythical and secretive
life. The quest involves some danger too, for Millicent's will
named a mysterious Latino man as her legatee, and the rapacious law
firm that now administers the estate seemingly will go to any
length to have this mysterious man out of the picture. This is a
novel (poet Sobin's first) of hints, shadows, false leads, and
fetishes. Bathed in retro light and mock-eroticism (think Toby
Olson, think lesser John Hawkes), the book is disabled quickly,
though, by the sameness of weight of its overstuffed, unbearably
eloquent language: "I'd go on lying there in bed, half asleep,
still hoping somehow to find her beneath the heavy, troughed
quilting of some sustained dream, rather than plucked, as she was,
abducted - her own exquisite captive - into those thin,
ever-thinning altitudes that by the hour, certainly, she'd already
attained." Whether it's the narrator's or the diary's or the
dialogue's, the style is a leadenly one. No human person is
credible - only Sobin's vocabulary and stuffy rhetoric. (Kirkus
Set in film noir chiaroscuro, this novel is narrated by a
present-day Hollywood memorabilia collector, Stefan Hollander. It
is a story of haunted obsession and unfailing love, in which Molly
Lamanna, a 1930s bush pilot and gorgeous vagabond, becomes the
focal point of devotion.
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