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Most Helpful Favorable Review
4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.
posted by harstan on December 9, 2008Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Most Helpful Critical Review
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posted by Anonymous on March 1, 2007Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 9, 2008
In California, self-help author Elena lives with film director Max but fails to overcome her gloom even during the act. On the morning after the 2003 Oscar Awards and just a few days after the Iraq war started, Max has many guests staying at his home. His agent Stoney fears he is not able to match the greatness of his dynamic deceased father. Max¿s childhood friend Charlie wraps himself in the flag while antagonistically challenging anyone to oppose the Iraq War. His former mother-in-law Delphine lives in Max's guest house though he divorced her daughter movie star Zoe years ago when he was still prime time not a washed up after thought. Others also staying are Delphine's best friend Cassie, Max and Zoe's daughter Isabel, Elena's son Simon, Zoe and her lover Paul. These people begin telling tales of films over the course of ten days, but soon turn to debating the war in Iraq.--------------- Moving Giovanni Boccaccio¿s Decameron from the hills of Italy to the hills of Southern California, Jane Smiley provides a fascinating ten days of tales, debauchery, and debate (on the second Iraq War that had just begun). The stories within the story are fun to follow more so as they are individual items rather than a collective, but they also lack the intensity of the Decameron whose contrast is established early on when the narrator compares the sickness of love to that of the Black Death. Fans of Ms. Smiley will appreciate her wit as she modernizes the fourteenth century masterpiece though Hollywood is no Florence or even A Thousand Acres in Iowa.------------ Harriet Klausner
4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.