Hello Darling, Are You Working?

Hello Darling, Are You Working?

4.0 2
by Rupert Everett, Frances Crichton Stuart
     
 

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British actor Rupert Everett charmed his way into moviegoers' affections with his scene-stealing performance in "My Best Friend's Wedding." Everett is also the gifted writer of this scathingly funny novel of a down-and-out actor's zany misadventures amid a wildly colorful menagerie of madcap trendsetters.

Fame is a fleeting thing, as ex-soap opera star Rhys

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Overview

British actor Rupert Everett charmed his way into moviegoers' affections with his scene-stealing performance in "My Best Friend's Wedding." Everett is also the gifted writer of this scathingly funny novel of a down-and-out actor's zany misadventures amid a wildly colorful menagerie of madcap trendsetters.

Fame is a fleeting thing, as ex-soap opera star Rhys Waveral discovers. When he loses all his money in the stock market and no new acting jobs are forthcoming, eviction from his elegant hotel suite looms large. Stripped of all his assets, Rhys realizes he has only one thing left to sell: himself. And a pair of jet-setting dowagers couldn't be more thrilled. From staid English country houses to flamboyant Parisian nightclubs and an outrageous costume ball in Tangiers, Rupert Everett spins a raucous and irresistible modern farce.

Editorial Reviews

Detroit Free Press
A very funny comedy of errors.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Rhys Waveral's life is not exactly at a high point when this sprightly and wickedly funny first novel opens. Following the cancellation of his highly successful American TV series, the young British actor (and former male hustler) retired to Paris to regroup. When the stock market crashes, leaving him penniless, he agrees to a paid assignation with a wealthy woman in order to raise cash to defray his mammoth hotel bill. To complicate matters further, his father (the Brigadier), his mother (Lady Dinah) and his frail, agoraphobic wife (Adrienne)--none of whom know more than a few details of his lifestyle--all descend upon him at once. The action flits from Paris to London to Tangier in a fast-paced farce that never stops. The author, himself an English actor, writes like a cross between Joe Keenan (to whose Blue Heaven the book bears more than a superficial likeness) and Gerald Durrell, depicting the British upper class and Parisian gay subculture with equal verve. Behind his humor lurk the grim realities of the late 1980s, with AIDS never far from the scene. Although he delivers a surprisingly downbeat denouement which would seem to preclude a sequel, a writer of Everett's obvious talent may very well find a way to have his marvelously daft set of characters make a repeat appearance. His well-written and hilarious book will certainly leave readers wanting more. (Sept.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780380721528
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/28/1994
Series:
Quill
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.54(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: in which I want doesn't get

By the time he was eight he knew he would never be a Great Actress.

There it was, sticking out in front of him like a sore thumb: his penis - and his first showbiz disappointment - shattering all his dreams.

It was at teatime one day just before Christmas, when he was only six years old, that it first started to sink in. He was in the drawing room of his grandparents' home in Scotland with his mother, Lady Dinah, his father, the Brigadier, and his Aunt Frances who was known as 'the Martyr'.

The Brigadier was hidden in the leather depths of an old wing armchair covered, apart from the top of his head, by )The Financial Times. The Martyr had arrived five minutes earlier from London and she and Lady Dinah were clustered together on the sofa, catching up with each other. They were swathed in balls of wool, sewing boxes and pinking scissors, since the Martyr was knitting an interminable sweater and Lady Dinah was in the process of putting the fringe on her latest lampshade.

The boy was crouched on a footstool in one of his mother's discarded nightdresses, thinking of nothing in particular. During a lull in the two sisters' conversation, the Martyr picked up her knitting and turned to her favourite nephew.

'Ree,' she said, 'what are you hoping to get for Christmas?'

He didn't answer and suddenly there was a huge tension in the room. The Financial Times folded with a loud crackle to reveal the shadowy scowl of the Brigadier. Lady Dinah began to concentrate with blind determination on her fringe. The boy pulled his knees up inside his nightdress and lowered his head into theruff.

'Well, Ree?' continued the Martyr, oblivious to the faux Pas she had obviously made. 'Have you lost your voice?'

He looked from one parent to the other, imploring them to come to his rescue, but no one spoke. The clock ticked ominously.

'I want a wedding dress,' the little boy finally blurted out. He put his hands to his ears and stood up. 'I want a wedding dress, I WANT A WEDDING DRESS!' he screamed, utterly hysterical.

Lady Dinah raised a slightly accusing eyebrow in the direction of her sister and sighed.

'Darling, I thought we'd discussed all this. I am not, repeat not, buying you a wedding dress.' But before she could take hold of her son, who was now stamping and screaming in the middle of the room, the Brigadier had risen, hurling the Financial Times to the ground, a gesture for which he was in fact too small - he was only fractionally taller than the armchair - but which carried a certain naive threat.

'Now look here,' he said, lifting up his son by the ruff of his nightdress, 'I thought I'd made myself clear. Boys do not ask forwedding dresses for Christmas. Not in this family, anyway. You're going to get a crack over the jaw if I hear any more of this nonsense.' He dropped his small son back on to the floor and returned to his armchair.

Lady Dinah and the Martyr sat in suspended animation but the little boy now had only idea in his head: to run. He bolted out of the door, slamming it behind him, and ran headlong down the long stone corridor, narrowly missing Mrs Mac, the cook, wheeling the tea trolley towards the drawing room.

He didn't stop until he was safely on the other side of the small door between the back stairs and the rest of the house that marked the end of Their territory and the beginning of His. He raced up the little turret staircase - thirty-eight steps in all - to the nursery tucked beneath the rooftops, through the white wicket gate at the top, and then he was back in his own rule-free world. The austere gloom of the rest of the house was sharply offset by the simple white walls and threadbare beige haircord carpets of the nursery floor. Like a little ghost, skimming by in his pink nightdress, he went straight to the bathroom and locked the door. He hitched up his nightdress and sat down on the big white wooden seat of the lavatory. He put his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands and sat there motionless for several seconds.

In truth, he was not being deliberately subversive. He just didn't understand the reasons why he couldn't cross-dress. Little did he know - and how could he? - that he had been born into the only quarter of British society that would tolerate at all his particular character discrepancy. No word of anger greeted his appearance on his father's grouse moor in another of his mother's nighties.

'He's musical,' everyone would tell each other knowingly, 'very musical.' But that winter afternoon there seemed no rhyme or reason at all. Silent tears poured down his ruddy little cheeks and finally a small trickle of urine went plip, plip, plip into the bowl.

That was the other thing. The Brigadier had told him last week that he must do it standing up.

'Why?' he whimpered through his tears, 'why?'

A resigned look on his face, he stood up, hitched his nightdress above his stomach and continued to relieve himself, regarding the procedure with great and serious attention.When he had finished he turned round and looked at himself in the mirror above the bath.

There it was, no doubt about it...sticking out in front of him.

'But Rhyssie, darling, it's always been there,' reasoned the ever-practical Lady Dinah.'Frankly, we've always been quite amazed that you've managed to ignore it for all these years.'

But he was inconsolable.

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What People are saying about this

Tama Janowitz
Hilarious -- and a good read...more than the novel of the '90s.

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