cover image The Acrobat

The Acrobat

Edward J. Delaney. Turtle Point, $17.95 trade paper (280p) ISBN 978-1-885983-03-9

Delaney (The Big Impossible) serves up a splendid fictional biography of Cary Grant, charting the film star’s path toward an “endless conundrum of fame.” Each chapter is framed with an episode of Grant’s 1959 LSD treatment at the Psychiatric Institute of Beverly Hills, with which his doctor intends to help Grant separate his consciousness from the subconscious and open the doors of perception. The arc of Grant’s life goes from rags to crisp shirts, razor-creased suits, and calfskin shoes while the actor struggles with being “desperately unhappy” from a damaged childhood, a skyrocketing career, and several strangling marriages. Along the way, celebrity cameos abound—an epiphanic moment playing shuffleboard at 16 with Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford during an Atlantic crossing; being penniless and taken in at 22 during a New York City snowstorm by future Oscar-winning costume designer Jack Orry-Kelly; private and professional alliances with confidantes Howard Hughes, Randolph Scott, Tony Curtis; working with Blake Edwards and Alfred Hitchcock. Delaney vividly captures the intoxicating and toxic fumes of Hollywood, where “egos go to be crushed,” and presents an alluring amalgam of fact and fiction. Breezy and entertaining, Delaney’s portrait perfectly befits the glamour and fakery of his subject. (Nov.)