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He : a novel / John Connolly.

By: Connolly, John, 1968-.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: London : Hodder & Stoughton, 2017Copyright date: ©2017Description: 453 pages ; 24 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9781473663633 (paperback); 9781473663626 (hardback).Subject(s): Laurel, Stan -- Fiction | Hardy, Oliver, 1892-1957 -- Fiction | Actors -- Fiction | Comedians -- Fiction | Hollywood (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- History -- FictionDDC classification: 823.92 Summary: John Connolly recreates the golden age of Hollywood for an intensely compassionate study of the tension between commercial demands and artistic integrity and the human frailties behind even the greatest of artists. An extraordinary reimagining of the life of one of the greatest screen comedians the world has ever known: a man who knew both adoration and humiliation; who loved, and was loved in turn; who betrayed, and was betrayed; who never sought to cause pain to others, yet left a trail of affairs and broken marriages in his wake . . . And whose life was ultimately defined by one relationship of such tenderness and devotion that only death could sever it: his partnership with the man he knew as Babe. He is Stan Laurel. But he did not really exist. Stan Laurel was a fiction. With he, John Connolly recreates the golden age of Hollywood for an intensely compassionate study of the tension between commercial demands and artistic integrity, the human frailties behind even the greatest of artists, and one of the most enduring and beloved partnerships in cinema history: Laurel & Hardy.
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John Connolly recreates the golden age of Hollywood for an intensely compassionate study of the tension between commercial demands and artistic integrity and the human frailties behind even the greatest of artists. An extraordinary reimagining of the life of one of the greatest screen comedians the world has ever known: a man who knew both adoration and humiliation; who loved, and was loved in turn; who betrayed, and was betrayed; who never sought to cause pain to others, yet left a trail of affairs and broken marriages in his wake . . . And whose life was ultimately defined by one relationship of such tenderness and devotion that only death could sever it: his partnership with the man he knew as Babe. He is Stan Laurel. But he did not really exist. Stan Laurel was a fiction. With he, John Connolly recreates the golden age of Hollywood for an intensely compassionate study of the tension between commercial demands and artistic integrity, the human frailties behind even the greatest of artists, and one of the most enduring and beloved partnerships in cinema history: Laurel & Hardy.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

The subject of this extraordinary novel is movie comic Stan Laurel (1890-1965). But he's never referred to by name. It's always "he," "his," or "him." The conceit should be off-putting but somehow isn't. It works, mirroring how Laurel sees himself: never at peace, only completed (and for the moment) when working with his partner "Babe," Oliver Hardy, the fat man to his skinny one in classic comedy skits that span the ages of silent films and talkies. Laurel is obsessed with Charlie Chaplin, always a step ahead of him in the comedy world. He realizes he can't match Chaplin but knows, too, that he's done good work. They'd performed together in early years. Why doesn't Chaplin even mention him in his memoirs? The novel cycles back and forth across the comic's long often harrowing career-drinking, womanizing, seven marriages to four women. He reminisces on his successes and failures but most of all on the loss of Babe, his mate, who completed a sad man who otherwise never felt whole. Verdict Connolly (Charlie Parker mysteries) makes his literary debut with this exceptional novel about a comic genius who never fully came to terms with his own worth. Who wouldn't want to read this lovely book?-David Keymer, Cleveland © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* The stars of the silent film era were among the most beloved celebrities of their time, including Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, and, of course, Charlie Chaplin, the diminutive giant in whose shadow the others lived. Connolly, author of the Charlie Parker mystery series, tells the story of Chaplin's one-time understudy, Arthur Stanley Jefferson, better known as Stan Laurel. While Chaplin emerged as the world's biggest star, Laurel met with moderate success in a string of two-reel comedies until he paired up with Oliver Babe Hardy, and they became the most successful comedic duo in Hollywood history. Connolly's tender double portrait is a love story about the astoundingly loyal friendship between these two quiet, immensely talented yet equally troubled men as they navigated the corrupt studio system, their failed marriages, the invasive press, and battles with their own demons. Connolly's love is evident in his impressive amount of research on and deep knowledge of his subject. The golden age of Hollywood is vividly and authentically drawn, with asides about the gossip, bed-hopping, drug use, untimely deaths, and subsequent obituaries that began with the phrase, Formally in Pictures. This dazzling and altogether wonderful book sets a new standard for the biographical historical novel.--Kelly, Bill Copyright 2018 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

The life and art of Stan Laurel, from vaudeville and silent movies to the talkies and old age, is explored in this artful novel.It's easy to see what doesn't quite work in this retelling of Laurel's life. Connolly (A Game of Ghosts, 2017, etc.) has made his name as a crime writer, and at times the blunt, spare, deliberately repetitive prose seems like a self-conscious attempt to be literary on the part of someone concerned about being snobbishly dismissed as a genre writer. At times, Connolly reaches for lyricism and finds only sentimentality. At times he employs a too-easy psychoanalyzing that reduces characters--and which stands out in a novel that insists on the complexity of humans and their motives. But the flaws are finally no match for the affection that the author feels for his subject, for the genuine melancholy that wells up as Laurel remembers his past from the comfort of the small apartment in Santa Monica where he spent his last years and for the intelligence and decency with which Connolly handles potentially salacious material. The Stan Laurel we know from the screen, that gentle, befuddled soul, was different from the man who made bad marriages and for many years sought refuge from the pain of those marriages in booze. The book is too smart to use that gap between public persona and private life to treat Laurel's art as if it were a lie. Almost all the characters here are based on real people, and even the genuine bastards are granted the status of full human beings. Oliver Hardy, known to all as Babe, is granted considerably more, and he comes across as a mountainous angel of a man. The book's great love story is that of Laurel mourning and yearning for his late partner, still writing routines for the two of them, rehearsing them by himself. It's the best tribute to this novel that by the end of it you feel you have been given the full texture of a life.This exploration of how art often diverges from the reality of the artist's life is not only moving, but also bracingly adult.

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