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A Wednesday "It's Wet" Review: Shopgirl

Steve Martin's first novel, Shopgirl, lives slap bang in the middle of Douglas Coupland territory. A tale of empty lives and their redemption through what they think is love, it is strongly remiscent of Coupland's later works, such as Miss Wyoming.

Mirabelle sells gloves. Ray Porter is a software millionaire who has lost track of his life. In a brief affair the two find what they are looking for in life, learn from each other, and finally - gently - part. It's a story that's infused with the spirrit of LA, and spiced with the demands of art and life - and family. Martin writes his story through the eyes of broken people who don't know that they're broken, slowly bringing together the strands of their healing in the descriptions of a glance, a touch, or a passing thought. There's a wry wit in the words, but not the slapstick of his early films - think "LA Story" rather than "The Jerk", or "Roxanne" rather than "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid". It's a wit that balances the sadness of the characters, and leads the reader on through their eventual redemption, and into their new lives.

An excellent, and moving, first novel. Highly recommended.

[Update: interesting to note that Martin will be playing Ray Porter in the film due out later this year...]


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 7th, 2004 09:13 am (UTC)
I agree, it is an excellent "read." I actually got the audio book, which Steve Martin read. Can't get much closer than the source for intended inflection.
Jul. 7th, 2004 09:43 am (UTC)
You should also check out his second novel, "Pleasure of My Company". It's a little odder in some ways (the narrator is painfully obsessive compulsive) but it's got a good heart.

And definitely try to at least borrow the audio books. He reads them well *nods*
Jul. 8th, 2004 05:17 pm (UTC)
If I can get them in the UK, I'll certainly try and find them...

The second novel is on my "must buy" list - but when it finally gets to percolate to the top of the to-be-read bookcases is another thing...
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )