cover image A Star Is Bored

A Star Is Bored

Byron Lane. Flatiron, $26.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-26649-1

Lane debuts with a fizzy roman à clef about a celebrity assistant, playfully alluding to his experience working for the late actor Carrie Fisher. Lane begins with Charlie Besson’s job interview, “panicked and parked outside the estate of Hollywood royalty.” The job is an assistant to Kathi Kannon, famous for playing the beloved Priestess Talara in the science fiction epic Nova Quest (a thinly veiled Star Wars). Charlie, who left behind a dull career as a local TV news writer to work for Kathi, narrates his process of learning the ropes of being an assistant, while attempting to heal from a pattern of self-destructive drinking and unprotected sex. Charlie travels with Kathi, helps her cope with addiction, and develops a bond with his boss, earning endearing nicknames like Cockring and Stepson. Lane brings wit and tenderness to Kathi’s mostly acerbic personality, and her attachment to Charlie is potent and palpable. As Charlie grapples with finding his passion and place in the world, Kathi tells him, “I’m giving you the best shit to write about… this will all be funny one day,” and he latches on to Kathi as his “superpower,” to the frustration and bemusement of the men he dates. If any of this were true (a note from Lane’s attorney says otherwise), Lane’s affecting tale would show how the real Charlie found his own superpower—as a novelist. [em](July) [/em]