Afterword by Simon Callow
Another stunning reissue from the master American novelist who is only now being re-discovered.
It is 1980’s Los Angeles. Alys, a wealthy young dilettante accepts the invitation of a stranger to “get you into pictures” and suddenly finds himself behind the movie screen in the black-and-white world of the Silents—a Hollywood precisely as it was in the 1920’s: a world where love is the only subject matter but passion can be expressed solely within the censor’s strict limits. Where neither love nor death can last beyond the moment when the director says “Print That!”.
Screenplay is fiction as tauntingly erotic as it is brilliantly imaginative—a mysterious and captivating novel that, while unique in itself, shares the magic of John Fowles's The Magus and Nabokov's Pale Fire.
Simon Callow (who has been haunted by this book for 30 years) says in his Afterword: “The book is a supremely elegant roller-coaster, a Magic Mirror Maze, a bedazzlement of illusions……..the author is in playful form, revelling in his showmanship and legerdemain. He is, too, but the spell that Macdonald Harris’s Screenplay casts is of an altogether different nature to the tawdry charms of the circus.”
From a review of the first edition in 1983:
…….Nothing better has been written about how seeing films may influence private lives and dreams. He conjures up Conrad’s Shadow Line and James’s Turning of the Screw in prose that is both precise and phantasmagoric, a classical ghost story about a recent art form, forever divided between sound and silence, colour and the absence of it. It is a rich book and better than any screenplay of it will ever be.
Andrew Sinclair, The Times
Also available as an e-book.
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- 978 1-903385-21-0