The Sadness

Benjamin Rybeck. Unnamed Press (PGW, dist.), $16 trade paper (286p) ISBN 978-1-939419-70-5
You don’t have to be a movie buff to appreciate Rybeck’s debut novel, but it helps to recognize the references to Hitchcock, Bergman, and others in this story featuring two fictional films made in Portland, Maine. The first film, a cult favorite titled Land Without Water, launches the career of hometown-girl-turned-B-list-Hollywood-starlet Penelope Hayward, who returns to the town for the annual festival honoring the film. The second is The Glazen Shelves, the brainchild of cinema nerd and aspiring writer/director Max Enright, still unfinished after 61 drafts. Max is searching for his film’s star, Evelyn Andersson, who has mysteriously disappeared, when Max’s twin sister (and Penelope’s former best friend), Kelly, returns to Portland. Homeless and unemployed, Kelly is searching for the father that abandoned the twins alongside their wild hippie mother when the twins were three. The mother died years later while away on what she claimed was a job interview. To recount interrelated stories of the siblings and the films, Rybeck uses a variety of forms including letters, a diary, and imaginary interviews. A few scenes over-reach but the characters experience memorable moments of self-awareness. Often humorous, sometimes touching, newcomer Rybeck’s tale of youthful woe portrays a generation full of promise as it runs aground. Agent: Greg Messina, Linwood Messina Literary Agency. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/04/2016
Release date: 06/01/2016
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 286 pages - 978-1-939419-92-7
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