Garbo Laughs by Elizabeth Hay

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From the award-winning author of A Student of Weather , a funny, sad-eyed novel about a woman caught between real love and movie love--and real love doesn't stand a chance. This is a novel about movie love. Set in Ottawa in the 1990s, it is the quixotic tale of tall, thin Harriet Browning, inflamed by the movies she was deprived of as a child. Bent on seeing everything she has missed, she rapidly becomes so saturated with old movies, seen repeatedly and swallowed whole, that she no longer fits into this world. Equally addicted are her three companions- of-the-screen: a boy who loves Frank Sinatra, a girl with Bette Davis eyes, and an earthy sidekick named after Dinah Shore. Breaking in upon this quiet backwater, in time with the devastating ice storm of 1998, come two refugees from Hollywood, the jaded widow of a famous screenwriter and her movie-expert stepson. They are Harsh Reality. With them come blackouts, arguments, accidents, illness, and sudden death. But what chance does real life stand when we can watch movies instead? What hope does real love have when movie love, in all its brief intensity, is an easy option? In this brilliant and poignant comedy of secondhand desire, movies and movie lovers come first.

About Elizabeth Hay

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Elizabeth Hay was born in Owen Sound, Ontario in 1951. She attended Victoria College, University of Toronto. After graduation, Hay worked for CBC radio in Yellowknife, Winnipeg and Toronto, as a host, interviewer, and documentary maker, especially for "Sunday Morning." She also taught creative writing at New York University and the University of Ottawa. Hay won the award for Fiction Gold from the National Magazine Awards in 1995. She was Co-winner of the Western Magazine Award for fiction in 1995 and won 2nd prize in the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction, for The Only Snow in Havana in 1993.
Published January 1, 2003 by McClelland and Stewart. 384 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Romance, Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction

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But Harriet is an insomniac, and she’s also writing (but not mailing) letters to the New Yorker’s redoubtable Pauline Kael: a melancholy woman, Harriet, but also smart, sympathetic, and a devoted mother.

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