Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony Marra

One first things I noticed about this book is that it was clever and hilarious — characters being witty and all that — in a fun way. Then, it’s a book with a plot. You know, people swapping identities and escaping from the police kind of plot. But then, it’s full of swirling themes, chief among them the devil’s bargain/Faustian question, and then there’s art/life/perception/reality, in an almost Wag the Dog way. Each is layered throughout in a way that seems designed to call attention to itself. It’s not a subtle book. But I enjoyed spending time with Maria Lagana and Art Feldman, and their families and associates, in late 30’s-early 40’s Hollywood.

There’s nothing overly modern going on here (and one wouldn’t really expect there to be, following Constellation). It’s a good old fashioned novel, and one I’m glad I read.

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