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Garbo Paperback – August 1, 2002
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''A witty, clearheaded correction to all the misinformation that has become part of the Garbo legend.'' --Vogue
''Magnificent, literate, detailed, and scrupulous. This is a book that at last solves the riddle of the Sphinx.'' -- Sunday Independent (London)
''A substantial work exploring the enigmatic life of one of the twentieth century's most famous icons, a book notable above all for its humanity and compassion.'' --Newsday
''This strong, rich biography has sweeping detail, a huge cache of photos, and a satisfying grip on Garbo's character. . . . Paris offers what is likely to be the standard life of Garbo--handsomely made, a gripping must-read.'' -- Hollywood Reporter
''(Reader: Anna) Fields's sardonic and wry style fits well the public persona of Garbo.'' --AudioFile --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
If Paris is careful to separate fact from gossip in biographical details, he is less cautious when indulging in psychological conjecture. For instance, his explanation of Garbo's attraction to women (or her "sexual pathology," as he terms it) is superficial, amateurish, and at times downright offensive (p. 249). (She turned to women only because she had been so hurt and betrayed by men? Please. Why must same-sex attraction be explained in terms of psychological damage and trauma? Why must it be "explained" at all?)
In general, the biography is weakest in its psychological and cultural analyses. Despite some interesting insights, Paris is obviously no psychologist, nor is he much of a cultural theorist. But I found it easy to skim these sections and instead concentrate on the specifics of Garbo's life and words, material that Paris presents thoroughly, meticulously, and (as far as I can tell) honestly. He's respectful of his subject without being obsequious or gushy; he treats Garbo's flaws in a balanced fashion.
Structurally, Paris can be repetitive.Read more ›
Happily this is not the case with this book by Barry Paris. Mr. Paris brings a unique and scholarly approach to this work on the enigmatic silent and talky film star.
Frequently what compels people to write these kinds of books is the assurance that a film star's fan base will be sufficient to provide a ready made audience. In the case of Garbo's career, as Mr. Paris cites time and time, it was her skill as an actress that enabled her to raise the quality of a work to greater levels time and time again.
Garbo's personal life was something else. It is clear that while probably a pleasant person to intimates, she did not suffer fools or intrusions gladly. In the final analysis as Mr. Paris points out, Garbo had two things going for her, her remarkable talent as an actress and the lengths she would go to to avoid unwanted contact. Otherwise she led a perfectly ordinary life with ordinary needs, sometimes carried almost to the level of excess in the case of Garbo's numerous quest for shoes. Still this mixture of the banal and rarified is the stuff of real life.
I would suggest that anyone reading this book might also enjoy the TCM collection of Garbo movies that came out last year in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of her birth. This wonderful set also includes a copy of "Flesh and the Devil" with commentary by Mr. Paris.
What makes this book, and its subject, so fascinating is the fact that the majority of Garbo's life was not lived on-camera.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well done and I am happily reading along. Fascinating. 5***** Thank you.Published 1 month ago by Ghostcat
Mr. Paris's biography of Garbo can best be described as uneven. The first half, which is devoted to Greta's time in Hollywood, is dreadfully uninspired. Read morePublished 1 month ago by J. Robbins
The book is very full of detail, it is written in a way that is easy for one to follow. The one thing lacking for me would be images, as the ones on the book were not really unique... Read morePublished on May 26, 2014 by gotalkies92
If you're interested in Garbo's life this is the book. Barry Paris does get a little too off-track, I believe, when he goes into so much detail about other film stars and films of... Read morePublished on April 17, 2014 by D. Robbins
This is my first book about Garbo. I plan to read as much as I can about her. She has always fascinated me.Published on November 16, 2012 by Darla Schrock