Living quietly in Santa Monica, Stan Laurel looks back over his life and achievements, both professional and personal. He reflects on his many marriages and divorces, and the effects of his drinking and womanising. At the core of this wonderful novel is his collaboration with Oliver Hardy and the comedy duo’s struggle to reconcile their artistic ambitions with the demands of commercial success. Recreating the golden age of Hollywood in exquisite detail, this poignant novel is certainly a contender for book of the year.
Recommended by Brian Blacker, Dubray Grafton St
An extraordinary reimagining of the life of one of the greatest screen comedians the world has ever known: a man who knew both adoration and humiliation; who loved, and was loved in turn; who betrayed, and was betrayed; who never sought to cause pain to others, yet left a trail of affairs and broken marriages in his wake ...And whose life was ultimately defined by one relationship of such tenderness and devotion that only death could sever it: his partnership with the man he knew as Babe. he is Stan Laurel. But he did not really exist. Stan Laurel was a fiction. This is his tale. Experimental in style, this unusual novel from the writer of the Charlie Parker mysteries is about the plight of the artist, the pull between commercial demands and artistic integrity, human frailty (particularly sexual incontinence), the insecurity of the creative person and an intense partnership/relationship between two artists.