This PEN/Hemingway Award winner about coming of age in Los Angeles is a “little gem of a novel . . . a masterwork of Hollywood fiction” (Salon).
He’s a child of 1940s Hollywood—specifically, Casa Fiesta, a ranch in the Malibu hills that he shares with his mother, a onetime Broadway headliner, and his father, a star of Westerns. But when his parents fall out of favor in Tinseltown, the narrator of this exquisitely crafted dark comedy loses his youthful idyll and accompanies his lovesick mother on a vodka-soaked international quest for romance and redemption. Meanwhile, his father lives in “diminished circumstances” in California, clinging to his silver-screen mementos, trusting that, someday soon, his ex-wife and his career will return.
Tired of tending bar at his mother’s parties and listening to his father’s sad tales of former glory, the boy moves in with his best friend’s family in Beverly Hills. But nothing in La-La Land is quite what it seems, and when his new home turns out to be just as dysfunctional as the last, our teenage hero must somehow learn to accept his parents while finding the courage to break free and become his own man.
This award-winning novel, “a kind of Catcher in the Rye for the Cheap Trick generation” (GQ), was cited by the Guardian as one of the “ten best neglected literary masterpieces.” Written by a New York Times–bestselling author who was a child of Hollywood movie stars himself, it has been praised for its “spectacularly deadpan humor” by the Atlantic Monthly and called “an insightful coming-of-age tale” by the Austin Chronicle.