Willis (Doomsday Book), a fan of old movies, uses them cleverly and thoughtfully in Remake, her fourth solo novel. Roughly 20 years into the future, computer graphics have ended live production in Hollywood. Tom, the narrator, reluctantly pillages old films for remakes starring dead actors or alters them to suit the politico-social correctness of the moment. When he meets Alis, who has come to Hollywood burning to dance in movies no longer being made, he falls hard. As in Willis's Lincoln's Dreams, while boy is obsessed with girl, she is obsessed with her purpose. Boy loses girl, then sees her, impossibly, dancing in old musicals which couldn't have been altered. After several red herrings he finds both her and an explanation, but, given her higher passion, finders aren't necessarily keepers. Willis's writing, as usual, is transparently clean and deft. She has fun playing with old film references and with the levels of illusion in a Hollywood more irreal than ever, and is discerning both about the way movies inform our imaginations, giving us roles to play, and about desire, purpose and possibility. One flaw is a scene of requited love that neither the form nor tone of this bittersweet romance can support. But if the characters are mostly stock and the sentimentality easy, this is still popular fiction at a high level, entertaining, thoughtful and often touching. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/02/1995 Release date: 01/01/1995 Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 140 pages - 978-0-553-57441-8
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.