From Publishers Weekly
Clever stage satire and compassionate character writing distinguish this heady, humorous New York theater novel by the author of The Notorious Mr. August and Father of Frankenstein (which was made into the Academy Award-winning film Gods and Monsters). The title (a Yeats reference) effectively conveys the fondness and gentle derision with which Bram presents his ensemble cast. Henry Lewse is a prominent British actor starring in a musical, but preoccupied with sex. His latest find is Toby Vogler, a good-looking, not terribly bright young man, honored to have the attention of a star, but too earnest to provide full satisfaction ("Why am I such bad sex?" he sobs). Toby is longing for Caleb Doyle, a playwright whose first stage success was followed by the immediate and ignominious failure of his second. Caleb's sister, Jessica, is also a theater enthusiast and works as Henry's assistant. She is loved by Frank Earp, a rather bedraggled director who has come to terms with the limits of his career, directing schoolchildren and off-off-off-Broadway plays (his current show is staged in an apartment). Presiding gloomily over the rest of the cast is Kenneth Prager ("The Buzzard of Off-Broadway"), the Times reviewer who shot down Caleb's play. After much acting, gossip, psychoanalysis and sex (mostly inept), all come together at Caleb's big-finale birthday party. As he proved in Father of Frankenstein, Bram has a sophisticated understanding of celebrity and the intersection of gay and straight worlds. His savvy-and his easy familiarity with the New York theater scene-gives edge and nuance to this witty entertainment.
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Endearing, aging gay actor Henry Lewse thinks he wants sex and not love, yet he is drawn to Toby, a very good aspiring young actor, who still nurses a breakup with Jessica Doyle's successful playwright brother, Caleb. Fag hag Jessica, meanwhile, can't seem to let herself fall for failed actor Frank, the one man who completely adores her. Ascerbic Times
second-string theater critic Kenneth hates his life and, so his therapist suggests, takes it out in his reviews, most recently on Caleb's most recent play. Which brings us to the pistol and Caleb's mother. From Henry to Jessica to her lovable, slightly off-kilter mother, who has (fortunately) very bad aim, Bram gives us characters to love for their humanity and vulnerability from the outset of a sweetly funny and engaging novel that makes the contemporary New York theater scene spring to life in an imaginative unfolding of the interrelationships of fascinating, often eccentric, always less-than-perfect people being themselves. Paula LuedtkeCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved