From Publishers Weekly
O'Brien examines the cultural and psychological effects of movie-watching over the past 100 years, analyzing a variety of genres within the medium.
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“One of the most eccentrically engaging books to come out all year. . . . The Phantom Empire
is an elegy for reality, the screenplay of a celluloid culture.” (Voice Literary Supplement)
“Ingenious and idiosyncratic . . . a work that somehow manages to be both a prose poem about the pleasures and distractions of movie-watching and an extremely compact history of the cinema.” (Louis Menand - The New Yorker)
“O'Brien's stroboscopic images of a mind that the movies have made and remade, deformed and reformed, straitened and enlarged, are dazzling. They fuse into an aptly pyrotechnical celebration of film's first century.” (Stanley Kauffmann - New Republic)