cover image Warren Beatty and Desert Eyes: A Life and a Story

Warren Beatty and Desert Eyes: A Life and a Story

Pat Thomson, David Thomson. Doubleday Books, $17.95 (399pp) ISBN 978-0-385-18707-7

In this speculative biography, film critic and novelist Thomson (Suspects, etc.) relates the movies in which Beatty has acted or produced to periods in his personal life. The narrative is somewhat fragmented by rhetorical questions and lengthy digressionsmany regarding filmmaking, but many others on distantly related topics. Thomson's analysis of Beatty's work is perceptive; however, when it comes to defining the man himself, he relies to a large extent on quotes from Beatty's sister Shirley MacLaine and on published interviews given by the actor's loversJoan Collins, Leslie Caron and Diane Keaton, among others. An oddity: Thomson alternates chapters of the Beatty story with a silly futuristic fiction of a California peopled with earthquake survivors who escape to the desert to continue their surrealistic lives. Photos. (April 17)