Ten Days in the Hills by Jane Smiley - review by Pamela Norris

Pamela Norris

Boccaccio in Hollywood

Ten Days in the Hills


Faber & Faber 451pp £16.99

Max is an Oscar-winning film director whose career is on the slide. His girlfriend Elena writes self-improvement guides with such bracing titles as Here’s How: to do EVERYTHING Correctly! It is 24 March 2003, the morning after the Academy Awards ceremony and also the fifth day of the invasion of Iraq. Still groggy from their late-night revels and fretting about the war, Max and Elena discuss Max’s idea for a new project. Combining dialogue, sex and innovative camerawork, My Lovemaking with Elena will explore the relationship between a man and a woman in the most intimate detail.

Jane Smiley’s Ten Days in the Hills is a novel about Hollywood, politics and personal relationships. It is also about the human appetite for telling stories, from personal anecdote to the great myths that have captured the imagination since the Iliad. Developed through a series of conversations, like scenes in

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