Bright Shiny Morning by James Frey
From the publisher: Welcome to LA. City of contradictions. It is home to movie stars and down-and-outs. Palm-lined beaches and gridlock. Shopping sprees and gun sprees. Bright Shiny Morning takes a wild ride through the ultimate metropolis, where glittering excess rubs shoulders with seedy depravity. Frey’s trademark filmic snapshots zoom in on the parallel lives of diverse characters, bringing their egos and ideals, hopes and despairs, anxieties and absurdities vividly to life. Some suffer, like the otherworldly wino who tries to save a spoilt teenage runaway. Others gain, like the canny talent agent who turns sexual harassment to blackmailing advantage. Some are loaded, or grounded, and have luck on their side. Others, like the countless actresses-turned-hookers, or schoolboys-turned-gangsters, are doomed.“
Out of the many characters in Bright Shiny Morning, one dominates them all – the city of Los Angeles. Frey etches out the city’s persona through the experiences of a cross-section of its inhabitants, from the highest to the very lowest. It is testament to his skills that even the most profoundly unsympathetic of these individuals cannot fail to get under your skin and the novel is always engaging although don’t expect a story in the conventional sense.”
Tom Goddard, Waterstones.com
An ambitious and wide-ranging first novel from the author of the controversial rehab memoir, A Million Little Pieces which paints a vivid fictional portrait of the city of Los Angeles and its many and varied inhabitants…Did you feel that James Frey suceeded in creating believable and sympathetic characters here? How did you find the unconventional narrative structure of the book? Did it affect your overall enjoyment of the book? Does the book provide a rounded portrait of the city that gives a real impression of sense of place and what the city is like? Did you empathise with any of the characters more than others? Amberton, Dylan, Old Man Joe – who did you feel was the most convincing character?