Book of Dreams by Craig Nova

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Warren Hodges, head of International Pictures, lives in a house like a Norman castle with a view of the Pacific.
Marta Brooks, blonde and beautiful, takes classified ads for the Romance Advertiser.
Victor Shaw has spent time in Soledad state prison but understands that his future lies in blackmail.
Taylor Hayden, a good hit man, shines his shoes and doesn’t ask questions.
Zimba, a performing elephant, is not as reliable as he looks.
This is Hollywood, and Craig Nova makes it seem perfectly logical that these creatures should find themselves in the same cast.
In his swift, lyrical prose, comic and moving, Craig Nova weaves disparate lives together into a novel that makes utter beauty out of the gritty and grotesque. This is a story about people who are willing to take the chance they have been waiting for all their lives, men and women trying to live up to their dreams.
The Book of Dreams is also a book about California, that youthful place prematurely aged by the burden of too much longing and desire. And the look of the place, with its heartbreaking, ever receding landscape (seen most often through car windows), haunts this novel.
Like a jazz pianist, improvising snatches of other tunes while never straying far from the melody, Nova effortlessly echoes the writers who have helped us see the state in earlier times – Raymond Chandler, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nathanial West, all are acknowledged here in graceful, amusing riffs.

"Using a handful of characters from a high-powered studio chief to a neat-freak hitman whose lives all intersect, Nova spins a gorgeous tale that fully rejuvenates in often surprising fashion the tired Hollywood-novel genre. Despite their familiarity, the characters and their backgrounds are marvelously detailed and ...cliche-free (no small feat in this genre). . . . Nova's eighth novel is so good that it reminds one of the great Day of the Locust."
- Library Journal

"...These flawed but compelling characters are the walking wounded, limping and cringing with residual pain from their love-starved pasts. A potently visual writer, Nova is also adept at articulating the obtuseness of an obsessed or hopeless mind. His eighth novel, perhaps his best, is enticing, unsettling, and gratifyingly noir...." - Booklist

About Craig Nova

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Craig Nova is the award-winning author of twelve novels and one autobiography. His writing has appeared in Esquire, The Paris Review, The New York Times Magazine, and Men's Journal, among others. He has received an Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of the Arts and Letters and is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2005 he was named Class of 1949 Distinguished Professor in the Humanities at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.
Published August 13, 2011 by PFP, Inc. 382 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

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the action constantly stops for another colorful character sketch or another sideshow, and the story trails a passel of loose ends by the time it finally staggers to a denouement involving Marta, Victor, and a hit man who reads Tacitus, with Warren as usual on the sidelines.

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Publishers Weekly

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Movie mogul Warren Hodges is all too willing to leave behind his studio trappings for the love of blonde Marta Brooks, a personals magazine receptionist he meets at one of his frequent parties.

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In the Hollywood of Craig Nova's imagination, elephants run wild, funerals become family entertainment, and blackmail is the currency of the day—for petty criminals and movie producers alike.

Aug 01 1994 | Read Full Review of Book of Dreams

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