Queen of Desire

Sam Toperoff, Author HarperCollins Publishers $20 (276p) ISBN 978-0-06-016611-3
A mesmerizing present-tense narration and a spare but intense prose style are utilized by Toperoff as he builds dramas around real and imagined people and incidents in Marilyn Monroe's life. The effect is uncanny, touching and wholly convincing --one puts down the book feeling that Toperoff has captured the real woman: confused, complex, frustrated in her lifelong desire ``to create something from the material of self.'' In 13 episodic chapters, Monroe is sexually abused at age nine by her mother's boyfriend, traumatized by a back-alley abortionist, altered by plastic surgery. She discusses breast size with friend Simone Signoret and defeats a psychoanalyst's attempts to pierce her defenses. We glimpse the star through the eyes of Actors Studio guru Lee Strasberg, enamored Indonesian president Sukarnook as is/eed , director Billy Wilder and husbands Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller, all of whom project onto her their needs and their fantasies. Toperoff ( Lost Sundays ) never resorts to sensationalism in this eerily plausible, oddly beautiful novel. 50,000 first printing; $65,000 ad/promo; author tour. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-06-092404-1
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