Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures

Emma Straub, Author
Emma Straub. Riverhead, $26.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-59448-845-0
Reviewed on: 07/02/2012
Release date: 09/04/2012
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-59463-182-5
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-4472-0318-6
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-61120-982-2
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-101-59689-0
Hardcover - 471 pages - 978-1-4104-5399-0
Hardcover - 306 pages - 978-1-4472-1865-4
Hardcover - 306 pages - 978-1-4472-0320-9
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In her debut novel (after her early-2012 story collection, Other People We Married), Straub weaves together snapshots of the long, large life of Elsa Emerson, the youngest daughter in a family of quintessentially blonde, corn-fed Midwestern sisters living in Door County, Wis. In the late 1920s, the family runs a summer playhouse, and Elsa’s first role, as a flower girl in Come Home, My Angel, coincides with a family tragedy. These two events shape her passion for acting and her desire to slip into a different character than that of the good, homespun girl she is. At 17, a few years before WWII, she moves to Los Angeles and finds Hollywood the perfect stage for her metamorphosis into Laura Lamont, a dark-haired, serious-eyed starlet who carries with her an air of mystery and gravity completely apart from her idyllic Midwestern upbringing. Written in a removed prose, Straub brings Elsa to life with the detached analysis of an actor examining a character, exemplifying Elsa’s own remote relationship to her identity. Through marriages, births, deaths, and career upheavals, Elsa and Laura coexist, sometimes uneasily—until Elsa learns to reconcile her two selves. An engaging epic of a life that captures the bittersweetness of growing up, leaving home, and finding it again. Agent: Jenni Ferrari-Adler, Brick House. (Sept.)
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