Everything You Know

Zoe Heller, Author Alfred A. Knopf $22 (224p) ISBN 978-0-375-40724-6
Willy Muller, the 55-year-old antihero featured in Heller's debut novel, is a hack journalist, absent father, convicted murderer and all-around unsavory character who must come to terms with his past when his teenage daughter Sadie commits suicide. Muller became estranged from Sadie and her older sister, Sophie, when he was imprisoned for murdering his wife and their mother, Oona. After being released on appeal, out of a job and desperate for cash, Muller wrote To Have and To Hold, a lurid confessional novel about his marriage and his wife's death. The book's publication earned him the scorn of friends and family, and Muller fled England for Los Angeles, leaving his two rebellious, emotionally damaged teenage daughters and pursuing a life of feeble ghostwriting and shallow society. The novel opens with Muller recuperating from a heart attack and reevaluating his life with the help of a box of Sadie's diaries, sent to him after her death. Reading the words of his ill-fated daughter, he can no longer deceive himself about his sorry behavior. Muller's intelligent, defensive and increasingly self-aware narration is counteracted poignantly by the heartbreaking voice of young Sadie as she tries, with little help from anybody, to cope with cruel boyfriends, her teen pregnancy and her own baby. Heller, formerly a New Yorker staff member and a contributing editor for Vanity Fair, pulls off this potentially heavy-handed story with great aplomb. She brings out the absurdities and hypocrisy in all the settings visited here--low-rent Hollywood, a resort town in Mexico and working-class London. A genuine but hilarious jerk, Muller abuses and offends a range of characters in all these locales, from his insipid girlfriend, Penny, to his vampiric agent, Art, to his surviving, conniving daughter, Sophie. But proving that faith can be just as interesting as cynicism, Heller gives her characters a few hard-earned moments of reckoning. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/03/2000
Release date: 01/01/2000
Show other formats
FORMATS
Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-4299-5258-3
Hardcover - 197 pages - 978-0-670-88557-2
Hardcover - 272 pages - 978-1-4074-5538-9
Paperback - 203 pages - 978-1-250-00374-4
Paperback - 197 pages - 978-0-14-103999-2
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-7434-1195-0
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-676-97870-4
Open Ebook - 978-0-307-36952-9
Hardcover - 197 pages - 978-0-14-028207-8
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.