Little Known Facts: A Novel
Little Known Facts: A Novel
Life as one of Hollywood’s most handsome, charismatic and critically-acclaimed movie stars seems like a glitzy fairytale to the people who orbit around Renn Ivins. But for his grown children, Anna and Will, their father’s fame threatens to permeate every aspect of their lives. For Anna - a diligent medical student with a promising future ahead of her but not so promising romantic prospects - the exploits of her celebrity father are a source of embarrassment and, at best, bemusement. Her brother Will, on the other hand, is floundering in a quarter-life crisis. The only thing to outlast his directionless career and failed relationships is his trust fund, but while he and Anna may be happy to use their father’s money, they’re less happy to use his influence. As the family, lovers and hangers-on of Renn Ivins struggle to forge their identities in the colossal shadow of his celebrity, Christine Sneed deftly unravels the secrets they tell each other and themselves. Little Known Facts is a multi-layered, deftly observed novel of the fallout of fame and fortune.
Christine Sneed is an American short-story writer whose work has appeared in many prominent journals and whose first collection, Portraits of a Few of the People I’ve Made Cry, won rave reviews a few years back. Her first novel, Little Know Facts, tells the story of Renn Ivins, a successful Hollywood writer, director and actor whose good looks, talent and charm have won him popular and critical acclaim, while also costing him two marriages and his relationship with his children.
When one of Renn’s assistants on his new film, Bourbon at Dusk – a drama set during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina – takes unexpected leave, he is forced to call on his son Billy to help out as his PA. Billy arrives on set to find his father rather smitten with his young star, Elise, who is more than 30 years his junior. Billy begins work struggling with both the industry’s demands and his growing attraction to his father’s newest girlfriend – a stress that soon comes to a head with a discovered note.
Sneed’s novel reads like a comedy of errors. There is much to love about the characters and their frailties, as well as her cutting analysis of the film industry, age, beauty and our race against time to try and make something of our lives before it is too late. An engaging read.
Michael Awosoga-Samuel is from Readings Carlton
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