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Still Holding Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (November 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743243374
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743243377
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,574,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Alternately brilliant and cluttered, this baroque third volume of Wagner's loose Hollywood trilogy (following the much-praised I'm Losing You and I'll Let You Go), moves along in fits and starts, crammed with celebrity cameos and sharp social commentary. The fable follows the workaday, neurotically self-absorbed lives of wannabe actress Becca, who hires out for trade shows as a Drew Barrymore look-alike, and Lisanne, a pathetically overweight secretary who, because of her morbid fear of flying, takes the Amtrak back home to Albany, arriving minutes too late to say good-bye to her dying father. These two women find their lives inexorably shaped by the karma of 34-year-old movie icon Kit Lightfoot (People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive"), a Buddhist who has meditated every day for almost 13 years. Lisanne returns to L.A. pregnant after a one-night stand with her high school flame. Slowly withdrawing deeper into neurosis, she becomes obsessed with Buddhism after her boss sends her to deliver a mandala to Kit. Suffering a severely debilitating brain injury when a disgruntled autograph hunter hits him in the head with a bottle, rich Kit is, poetically, nursed back to health by his grasping father. Ambitious Becca is hired as a cameo corpse on HBO's Six Feet Under and winds up girl Friday to TV sitcom queen Viv, Kit's fiance, who is shacking up with Kit's best pal. The irony verges on the farcical as Kit struggles to get his life back and the identity of his attacker is revealed. Though Wagner packs his twists too tight, leaving the reader gasping for air, this convoluted chiaroscuro offers probing insights into the human condition.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

It's all here: the sleaze and the smut, the gossip and the glamour, the hype and the hypocrisy that is Hollywood. In the final installment of his cell-phone-phrase titled entertainment-industry trilogy [I'll Let You Go (2001) and I'm Losing You (1996)], Wagner continues to viciously satirize life in "la la land," equally deriding the hangers-on and the heavy hitters with biting scorn and gritty cynicism. Megastar, sex symbol, and penitent Buddhist poster-boy Kit Lightfoot is attacked by a delusional fan, suffering brain damage that threatens to either derail or jump-start his languishing career. Weaving a circuitous storyline befitting a multi-installment miniseries, Wagner connects Lightfoot's illness and recovery with the desperate ambition of celebrity look-alikes and the pathetic devotion of die-hard fans, thus fully lambasting Hollywood's vulgar excesses and egregious vacuity. In a scathingly caustic, salaciously crude, and sardonically campy morality tale depicting the emotional bankruptcy inherent in a self-absorbed and fame-obsessed Hollywood subculture, Wagner limns an over-the-top expose of that shallow society's most exploitative bottom-feeders. Carol Haggas
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By lissonifan on February 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Like other reviewers here, I too felt disappointed by what I saw as the incongruity between the "hype" around this book and what it was delivering to me when I opened it. But then, some time around page 75 or so, the novel really began to coalesce and take off to a different level. It stopped sounding like Bret Easton Ellis and started to read like James Ellroy crossed with Gary Indiana by way of Joan Didion (how's that for a pedigree?). The flippant style and throwaway cast of celebrity walkons were hard to stomach until I caught on to what I think Wagner is doing here (i.e. demonstrating that in Los Angeles--or "Hollywood," rather--stars function sort of like geographic markers and place-holders, material coordinates providing the semblance of an orientation in a basically unstable, highly distorted, and unnatural social ecology). The book's major themes--hyperreality, celebrity obsession, mirroring and look-a-likes, the flawed pursuit of meaning or power through New Age mysticism and Eastern spirituality--resonated a great deal with Wagner's brilliant Wild Palms, a pop-cult phenomenon that still haunts me many years after its release. While this narrative may feel cynical and while some of its pages (particularly the sex scenes) are downright repulsive, the book is, quite simply, gripping and substantive even when it is hardest to take.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael Grace on March 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Since I've also trudged across this country by Amtrak, because of my own fear of flying, like a character in this terrific novel, I followed a friend's recommendation and bought this splendid and funny novel. What a treat. It examines Hollywood like a strong lethal and very funny (you laugh out loud) magnifying glass - following wonderful characters - including the self-absorbed life of a wannabe actress, who is a Drew Barrymore look-alike. It is all about the people who spend their lives scratching on the screen door of show business. Blocked like flies from ever getting close to the glamour of Hollywood they long for, we laugh and cry as they make their quest to find nirvana in this very nasty place. These fringe people are dealt with by Wagner with wry social commentary. This is a must read and I will read it again, when like poor Lisanne, I make my cross country journey east curled up in my sleeping car bedroom with this great book. Bravo to Mr. Wagner.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is wildly energetic, hilarious, disarmingly harsh, but above all heartbreaking and beautiful. For those who loved "I'm Losing You," Bruge Wagner once again delivers everything great about that book, this time with a much stronger, more satisfying story. "Still Holding" is a fantastic read. As with all great novels, I found myself torn reading this book-- I wanted to race through it and devour the crazy story, but at the same time slow down and re-read the gorgeous writing. Nobody does cruelty with a light touch better than Wagner. I highly recommend this book to anyone who not only wants to learn about the inner workings of Hollywood but also wants to see one of our great writers working at his peak.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover
What a performance! What a performer! The performance is Bruce Wagner's latest in his trilogy, and it's called STILL HOLDING; the performer is Bruce Wagner, a writer who at times seems to write with a chainsaw--as biting a satire of Hollywood, from stars to hangers on, look-alikes, delirious fans, as any other written; and yet also touching, in a tough way--Wagner is always tough and sweet at the same time; he clearly likes some of his wacky characters, including the Drew Barrymore look-alike, and--get this, Drew Barrymore herself, a neat trick Wagner pulls off. He also understands the fading star Kit, who turns to Yoga, whose fate it is to share it with a character he plays. The prose is furious--at times fragments, as if Wagner can't wait to move on--and neither can the reader, held captive from the first page. Comparison's? Cross the sharp-eyed but more delicate Waugh with Nathaniel West's even harsher visiton and you got it. Which is not to say that Wagner is not in a class by himself, an original writer who turns the Hollywood he clearly knows so well into his own canvas. Terrific novel, terrific writer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I devoured this in a few hours - it was that much fun. Check it out if you're looking for laugh-out-loud excoriations of all that is Hollywood narcissism coupled with dead-on observations of the scene. Writer has a great eye, a great wit. Only very minor quibbles: perhaps too many multi-page soliloquies and plotting that became overwrought once or twice.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Noirgirl on September 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
It's quite a feat for an author to manage to be both hilarious and disturbing, but my hat is off to Bruce Wagner for doing all that and more. I stumbled upon this novel by accident and couldn't put it down. Like many of us, the author seems to have a love-hate relationship with the entertainment industry, so this book is at once a scathing indictment and a mournful love sonnet to Hollywood. I can't imagine how he wrote something so complex and wonderfully affecting, but this book both made me laugh and really broke my heart. Wagner acknowledges and appreciates our fascination with Hollywood while at the same time really condemning it in a number of shocking ways that will really make you think. A wonderful read by a really gifted writer.
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