Mourning Wood: A Novel

( 1 )

Overview

Best-selling author Daniel Paisner creates an indelible impression with an offbeat novel reminiscent of the humor found in the novels of Carl Hiassen and Peter Lefcourt.

Terence Wood, a fading Hollywood icon, stages his own death, and "disappears" into the workaday world of a Maine coastal town...

Axel Pimletz, a never-shined-enough-to-fade newspaper hack, catches the assignment of his nothing special career ...

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Overview

Best-selling author Daniel Paisner creates an indelible impression with an offbeat novel reminiscent of the humor found in the novels of Carl Hiassen and Peter Lefcourt.

Terence Wood, a fading Hollywood icon, stages his own death, and "disappears" into the workaday world of a Maine coastal town...

Axel Pimletz, a never-shined-enough-to-fade newspaper hack, catches the assignment of his nothing special career when his front page obituary of the presumed dead Wood wins him the chance to complete the man's "posthumous" memoirs...

Behind a full growth of beard and a name and back-story borrowed from one of his forgettable pictures, Wood throws in with the louts and fishermen of Bar Harbor, Maine like it's in his blood... he takes a job as a costumed cartoon-crustacean character at a seaside amusement park and feels he's doing the best acting of his career... he even falls for a dramatically overweight coffee shop matron who takes him in, offers girth and succor, and eventually wises to Wood's secret...

Pimletz, desperate to write his way out of his lone opportunity, begins to take on the trappings of Wood's life... he lives in the great man's cabin... he sleeps with the great man's estranged (and strangely widowed) wife... he does what little he can to make sense of the big mess Wood has left behind.

Meanwhile, Wood celebrates his transformation and learns to greet each day like it's brand-new... Pimletz tries on Wood's abandoned persona and struggles with the fit... and Wood's left-behind family (his son, an NYU film student with a fruit-flavored drinking problem, and his variously problemed ex-wives) take turns mourning the great man's death, in what ways they can manage.

Eventually, Pimletz's assumption of the fallen icon's persona takes him to Bar Harbor, where he hopes to track down the misdirected letters Wood had meant to deliver to his son Norman, to explain his sudden "death" and make repairs...in the end, Wood's old world collides with his new one, and he returns to the rest of his life with his overweight coffee shop matron in tow, and his "ghostwriter" on call... the man Wood was has indeed died in the fallout from his staged death, although it's not entirely clear what kind of man he has become...

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Paisner, a frequent collaborator on celebrity bios, plays a cheeky game of cat-and-mouse in his debut novel, which revolves around a famous but fading movie actor who fakes his death and creates a bizarre new existence for himself. Terence Wood is the thespian protagonist whose encounter with the muddy, icy roads of coastal Maine proves disastrous when his SUV goes off a cliff and into the water. Wood survives the accident, but instead of reporting it and providing the media with more celebrity scandal, the Maine native decides to hide out in a nearby fishing village, where he lands an unlikely gig working as a costumed lobster in a local theme park and falls for an overweight but attractive diner waitress called Grace, who is nicknamed "Two Stools." Meanwhile, an obituary writer for a prominent Maine paper named Axel Pimletz lands a book deal to polish an autobiographical manuscript Wood left behind, after fraudulently pasting together a final newspaper tribute to Wood. Pimletz struggles to finish the book with a libidinous assist from one of Wood's ex-wives. Paisner's terse but breezy style makes for a fast, engaging read, and Wood has more than enough character to carry the novel, especially with some strong comic relief from the hapless, bumbling Pimletz. But the ex-wife gags fall flat; another tangent involving the travails of Wood's son, Norman, is perfunctory; and despite Pimletz's funny moments, the potential of the biography subplot goes largely unrealized. Paisner recovers nicely with a sharp, funny ending, but the novel's various parts never quite cohere. (Feb.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566252096
  • Publisher: Bonus Books, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/28/2004
  • Pages: 300
  • Product dimensions: 7.04 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 1.28 (d)

Table of Contents

Fall
1. Here 3
2. Wood on Down 35
3. Alone 85
4. Not Thinking 133
Winter
5. Up-Gathered Now Like Sleeping Flowers 195
6. What It's Like 241
Spring
7. Antennae 293
8. Roaming Charges 315
9. You Say You Want an Evolution 347
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2004

    A FUN AND FAST READ

    Mourning Wood is an engrossing, well-told tale. The author has laid out an interesting story, chock full of witty cyncisim and a perceptivly accurate view of human nature. I am certainly looking forward to his next novel.

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