A rare 5* review from Ulysses Dietz…
Author: Joel Perry
Publisher: Lethe Press
Rating: 5.0 of 5 Stars
In this hilarious novel based on an actual event, author Joel Perry tells of fifty-five of Hollywood’s highest awards–the Arthurs–have been stolen, setting in motion the kind of crazy only turn-of-the-millennium Los Angeles can provide. Intrigue, murder, comedy, sex, romance, celebrity dish, and ultimately redemption play out for characters from Skid Row to Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, including all the desperate wannabes in between. In a town where people would happily kill anyone for a part, what would they do for a gilded Arthur statuette?
The French have an expression: Quelle salade! It refers to a confused and complicated situation.
Alternatively, in Québéquois French it means “what a pack of lies!” Which, after all, is not so far off, either.
Joel Perry’s “Stealing Arthur” is dizzying, riotous, Byzantine in its plotting, rife with intersecting characters, and offers us a profoundly cynical view of Hollywood and the movie industry.
Imagine the old film “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World” combined with “Pulp Fiction.” Imagine a gang of gay Mafiosi trying to rig the annual film institute awards (here renamed the Arthurs, mostly likely for reasons of avoiding lawsuits). Imagine a dozen Los Angeles gay boys of every shape and size, in every possible variation of psychological and emotional distress.
Quelle salade, indeed.
Although Perry’s madcap novel is truly an ensemble piece, in which every character matters, it seems to me that Guy Lanner is the moral core of the story. A refugee from an anti-gay indoctrination camp called Desert Springs, Guy lives in West Hollywood and is known to take in strays—damaged young men who have suffered at the hands of a homophobic society. Guy’s story is at the center of the epic shenanigans in “Stealing Arthur,” which pretends to be about the egotism and greed that is Hollywood, but which is really about the redemptive qualities of love, compassion, and friendship.
There are very good people in this tale; there are very bad people; there are bad people who are not as bad as they seem, and apparently good people who are not really so good. There are surprises aplenty, ranging from acts of startling violence to moments of spiritual revelation. And the chief delight in reading this novel is discovering who all these people are among the twists and turns of its lurid tapestry of interwoven plotlines.
I almost knocked off a star because there is not a single person in this book who isn’t messed up in some way. I know for a fact that there are plenty of gay men in Los Angeles who live pretty normal lives and have not been screwed over by their families or society.
But then again, who writes books about them? So I added the fifth star back on.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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