A Movie... and a Book
Daniel Wagner
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A Movie... and a Book

Daniel Wagner
128 pages
July 2004
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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A Movie…and a Book tells two alternating stories. In the first, Jim is an unsuccessful writer working a “temporary” job as a cashier. His artistic nature is apparent in his observations of unique moments in everyday life. Jim contrasts with his brother, Andy, a man of big ideas and impulses. As the story progresses, they put aside their differences to work together on an unnamed project that just makes Jim nervous.

The second story involves Lou and Liz, two acquaintances who took a boat trip and ended up on a deserted island. They don’t remember how they got there, but they spend their time talking and philosophizing. There is an undercurrent of romantic potential, but, fortunately, the story doesn’t fall back on a clichéd castaway romance.

These two plots are combined within the construct of a movie script, although the author only actually uses script format in one chapter. The idea of the movie facilitates frequent switches between the two storylines and gives the novel a unique style. The layering of narratives adds an extra dimension to some otherwise straightforward moments.

If there is any complaint to be raised about the book, it is that all the pieces fail to come together in the end. It’s obviously the author’s intent to leave many questions unanswered and to ask readers to draw their own conclusions. Even considering this though-provoking nature, though, some scenes and ideas beg for further depth, and there is just a hint of Jim’s other family members when they could have been more fully developed as characters.

While not a page-turner in the traditional sense, A Movie…and a Book will most likely be read in one sitting as readers are drawn into its world. And even though they may read it quickly, the novel’s questions of reality, creativity, and the best way to face life will resonate long afterwards.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Lorie Witkop, 2004

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