Cover image for Still holding
Still holding
Wagner, Bruce, 1954-
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Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, [2003]

Physical Description:
349 pages ; 25 cm
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If there's an even darker side to Hollywood than the one America is familiar with, Bruce Wagner has found it. A twenty-first-century Nathanael West, he has been hailed for his powerful prose, his Swiftian satire, and the scalpel-sharp wit that has, in each of his novels, dissected and sometimes disemboweled Hollywood excess.Now, in his most ambitious book to date,Still Holding,the third in the Cellular Trilogy that began withI'm Losing YouandI'll Let You Go,Wagner immerses readers in post-September 11 Hollywood, revealing as much rabid ambition, rampant narcissism, and unchecked mental illness as ever. It is a scabrous, epiphanic, sometimes horrifying portrait of an entangled community of legitimate stars, delusional wanna-bes, and psychosociopaths. Wagner infiltrates the gilded life of a superstar actor/sex symbol/practicing Buddhist, the compromised world of a young actress whose big break comes when she's hired to play a corpse onSix Feet Under,and the strange parallel universe of look-alikes -- an entire industry in which struggling actors are hired out for parties and conventions to play their famous counterparts. Alternately hilarious and heartfelt, ferocious and empathetic,Still Holdingis Bruce Wagner's most expertly calibrated work.

Author Notes

The author of the novels FORCE Majeure and I'M LOSING YOU and creator of televisions critically acclaimed "Wild Palms." He writes films and has directed four volumes of Carlos Casteneda's "Tensegrity" series. He wrote and directed the film adaptatiion of I'M LOSING YOU, which was released by Lion's Gate Films in 1999. He lives in Los Angeles.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

It's all here: the sleaze and the smut, the gossip and the glamour, the hype and the hypocrisy that is Hollywood. In the final installment of his cell-phone-phrase titled entertainment-industry trilogy I'll Let You Go (2001) and I'm Losing You (1996), Wagner continues to viciously satirize life in "la la land," equally deriding the hangers-on and the heavy hitters with biting scorn and gritty cynicism. Megastar, sex symbol, and penitent Buddhist poster-boy Kit Lightfoot is attacked by a delusional fan, suffering brain damage that threatens to either derail or jump-start his languishing career. Weaving a circuitous storyline befitting a multi-installment miniseries, Wagner connects Lightfoot's illness and recovery with the desperate ambition of celebrity look-alikes and the pathetic devotion of die-hard fans, thus fully lambasting Hollywood's vulgar excesses and egregious vacuity. In a scathingly caustic, salaciously crude, and sardonically campy morality tale depicting the emotional bankruptcy inherent in a self-absorbed and fame-obsessed Hollywood subculture, Wagner limns an over-the-top expose of that shallow society's most exploitative bottom-feeders. --Carol Haggas Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Alternately brilliant and cluttered, this baroque third volume of Wagner's loose Hollywood trilogy (following the much-praised I'm Losing You and I'll Let You Go), moves along in fits and starts, crammed with celebrity cameos and sharp social commentary. The fable follows the workaday, neurotically self-absorbed lives of wannabe actress Becca, who hires out for trade shows as a Drew Barrymore look-alike, and Lisanne, a pathetically overweight secretary who, because of her morbid fear of flying, takes the Amtrak back home to Albany, arriving minutes too late to say good-bye to her dying father. These two women find their lives inexorably shaped by the karma of 34-year-old movie icon Kit Lightfoot (People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive"), a Buddhist who has meditated every day for almost 13 years. Lisanne returns to L.A. pregnant after a one-night stand with her high school flame. Slowly withdrawing deeper into neurosis, she becomes obsessed with Buddhism after her boss sends her to deliver a mandala to Kit. Suffering a severely debilitating brain injury when a disgruntled autograph hunter hits him in the head with a bottle, rich Kit is, poetically, nursed back to health by his grasping father. Ambitious Becca is hired as a cameo corpse on HBO's Six Feet Under and winds up girl Friday to TV sitcom queen Viv, Kit's fianc?, who is shacking up with Kit's best pal. The irony verges on the farcical as Kit struggles to get his life back and the identity of his attacker is revealed. Though Wagner packs his twists too tight, leaving the reader gasping for air, this convoluted chiaroscuro offers probing insights into the human condition. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Book 1 The Three Jewels
Book 2 The Three Poisons
Book 3 The Three Mysteries
Book 4 Ground Luminosity
Book 5 Clear Light
Ordinary Mind