Bruno of Hollywood

Paul Mantee, Author
Paul Mantee, Author Ballantine Books $18 (232p) ISBN 978-0-345-38379-2
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That movie and TV actor Mantee is familiar with the world of Hollywood seems clear. Whether he can tell a lucid, insightful story about that world, however, is not readily apparent in this glib novel, the author's second after In Search of the Perfect Ravioli. Eager to make his fortune on the silver screen, Bruno Sangenito came to Hollywood in the 1950s from the small town of Granville, Calif. Cut to several years later, when a reunion with his high school sweetheart prompts Bruno--now primarily obsessed with his hair transplant--to reflect upon a career of fleeting sexual encounters, many auditions and few roles. In these reminiscences the reader meets Bruno's agent, his acting coach and various girlfriends, all of whom seem like escapees from Central Casting. The highlight of Bruno's career comes when he lands a choice part in a cowboys-and-Indians picture and embarks on a subsequent affair with his co-star--but this plot line, like many, is abruptly dismissed. This lack of cohesiveness is typical of this novel which, though sporadically funny, never takes a good hard look at its hero and his chosen milieu. (Apr.)
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