Dead Glamorous: The Autobiography of Seduction and Self-Destruction

Overview

Dead Glamorous is glamour's autobiography, a true fiction for all boys and girls who ever saw their own faces in Clark Gable's cheekbones or Grace Kelly's eyes, a Panavision paradise for all those dying for a glimpse at the incestuous love affair between movies and real life. There is a movie for each moment, and so Carole Morin wittily, movingly, glamorously recounts her life, frame by frame. Flying is dead glamorous. God is dead glamorous. And New York City - the cinematic city - is dead glamorous. Her mother, ...
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Overview

Dead Glamorous is glamour's autobiography, a true fiction for all boys and girls who ever saw their own faces in Clark Gable's cheekbones or Grace Kelly's eyes, a Panavision paradise for all those dying for a glimpse at the incestuous love affair between movies and real life. There is a movie for each moment, and so Carole Morin wittily, movingly, glamorously recounts her life, frame by frame. Flying is dead glamorous. God is dead glamorous. And New York City - the cinematic city - is dead glamorous. Her mother, very cinematically, inherits millions, and thus begins their life in hot pursuit of Kelly bags, jet-set vacations, and everything ultra-glamorous. Carole has an early-period Liz Taylor voice. She has Kim Novak's gray suit from Vertigo. She has a brother who makes her heart race - he's a dead ringer for Montgomery Cliff. Then he chooses a stylish demise - "Suicide's dead glamorous." As Carole watches her life's movie in her head, brother dead, mother impulsively gone, O'Keeffe-like, to New Mexico to live, boyfriend Dangerous Donald trying to stay in the picture, what emerges is a thrilling memoir of seduction, self-destruction and salvation - and every frame of it dead glamorous.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Cahners\\Publishers_Weekly
Humor is unpredictable. Like wine, sometimes it travels well, sometimes not. Morin, author of Lampshades, a columnist for the New Statesman and a minor cult figure in England, has written a self-conscious autobiography that is a wacky cross between Monty Python and the National Enquirer. Her writing is an acquired taste. At the heart of this picaresque journey is her relationship with Maddie, her joyously vulgar, unexpectedly rich mother who is herself surrounded by her six wildly caricatured sisters. An accompanying theme is the suicide of the author's brother John, who at 26 jumped to his death from the roof of a building owned by their grandfather. Despite the occasional flashes of outrageous camp, it is hard for the uninitiated reader to know whether to laugh or cry. There is a harsh note of desperation behind the relentless self-satire that, finally, becomes painful. An odd book, unlikely to gather much of a following in the U.S.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Humor is unpredictable. Like wine, sometimes it travels well, sometimes not. Morin, author of Lampshades, a columnist for the New Statesman and a minor cult figure in England, has written a self-conscious autobiography that is a wacky cross between Monty Python and the National Enquirer. Her writing is an acquired taste. At the heart of this picaresque journey is her relationship with Maddie, her joyously vulgar, unexpectedly rich mother who is herself surrounded by her six wildly caricatured sisters. An accompanying theme is the suicide of the author's brother John, who at 26 jumped to his death from the roof of a building owned by their grandfather. Despite the occasional flashes of outrageous camp, it is hard for the uninitiated reader to know whether to laugh or cry. There is a harsh note of desperation behind the relentless self-satire that, finally, becomes painful. An odd book, unlikely to gather much of a following in the U.S. (Feb.)
Kirkus Reviews
Another woebegone childhood propels this thin mix of style and attitude.

Like medieval mendicants parading their wounds for alms, the authors of triste contes such as this one avidly flourish their deepest misfortunes—abuse, incest, suicide, less-than-perfect relatives—as if suffering alone were reason enough for a book. These disjointed recollections of the author's sad, nasty family are, ultimately, too familiar. It is a given that novelist Morin (Lampshades, not reviewed), a weekly columnist for England's The Spectator, does not like her parents, especially "Fuckwit," her lumpen, passively offensive father. And her relatives are all pathetic and disgusting saps. Friends turn out badly. Melancholy is always threatening. Then there's the suicide of her beloved (perhaps too beloved) brother John, which provides as much of an overarching narrative as this book possesses: His death echoes across almost every page. If John were presented as a real person instead of a cardboard palimpsest for Morin's egocentric absorption, this could have been genuinely moving. But Morin seems incapable of the required level of empathy. When she runs out of familial miseries to exploit, she coughs up recherché musings on style and the movies, trying to add a mythic, or at least "glamorous," overlay to her unhappiness. We're treated to reflections on the blonde mystique, rehashed fanzine appreciations of Kim Novak, Montgomery Cliff, et al., and pensées on the intersections of cinema and life that are neither fresh nor startling. The most stylish thing here is Morin's prose, which has an occasional snap and crackle to it, unlike her affected pose of Catholic nihilism, rooted in the misguided notions that cynicism is easy and that salvation is a byproduct of despair, rather than its apotheosis.

Style without substance, glamour without beauty, form without function.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780879517502
  • Publisher: Overlook Press, The
  • Publication date: 2/1/1997
  • Pages: 190
  • Product dimensions: 5.68 (w) x 8.24 (h) x 0.75 (d)

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