THE FINISHED MAN

Sean Murphy, Selected by, Sean Murphy, Author . Delta $13 (256p) ISBN 978-0-553-38244-0

Murphy (The Hope Valley Hubcap King ) sends up writers, writing, ambition and desire in this quirky, gleeful farce. One day, struggling writer and recent L.A. transplant Frank Matthews runs into an old writing school chum, Max Peterson, whose "accidental originality" in his novel City of Breasts made him a runaway success and sparked a new literary movement, Punk Schlock. After a boozy night that involves a bit of vandalism, Frank and Max reconnect, and soon Frank's living in the garage apartment of Max's sprawling compound in the fictional Los Angeles–area town of Malomar and lusting after gorgeous, chain-smoking Magee, another friend from writing school who's now Max's wife. When Frank's own novel begins to take shape as a lovelorn tribute to Magee, readers may be dismayed to learn that Frank is no better a writer than Max ("Her eyes: was it too much to say they were like suns, or seas?"). There's plenty of tension, as Frank snoops around, Max indulges his lascivious side with an exotic dancer, Magee gets chilly and the weather goes apocalyptic. The novel makes much of fictionalizing the famous: Quentin Tarantino, spied at a party, becomes Sexton Tarantella; Paramount Studios becomes Paranoid Studios; General Hospital , Generally Inhospitable ; Sunset Boulevard, Sunrise, etc. As Max is fond of saying: "It's all just fictions. I don't mean only us writers, I mean everyone." The book's crescendo deepens that sentiment; Murphy's energetic take on it is usually quite entertaining. (Feb. 3)

Reviewed on: 12/22/2003
Release date: 02/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 160 pages - 978-0-440-33487-3
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