Serena Dawlish, the main character of this, Karina Mellinger’s second novel, has been voted ‘The Most Attractive Woman in a Soap’ by readers of ‘Turn Me On’ magazine for the third time, but her manager is anxious lest her fame may yet be ephemeral. He sends her to cultivate her caring persona at an adult literacy class, and signs her and her mother up for a new television show, ‘I Gave Birth to a Celebrity’, in order to exhibit her psychological complexity. This is a long shot, considering Serena has never had an emotion without motive in her life; this trait is one of the only things she has in common with her husband, a renowned Shakespearean actor, who often finds himself billed, much to his chagrin, as ‘James Marlborough – winner of six Oliviers and two Tonys and HUSBAND OF SERENA DAWLISH, STAR OF “COOMBE RIDGE CRESCENT”’. The other characteristic they share is a preposterous sense of their own importance and attractiveness, and this is an area where Mellinger excels: ‘He [James] told his agent that James Marlborough incognito is an oxymoron but she just went quiet so obviously this woman calls herself a theatrical agent and doesn’t even know what a bloody oxymoron is.’ By narrating conversations through the thoughts of the speakers Mellinger displays hilarious chasms between what is understood and what is meant.
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In this month's Silenced Voices, @lucyjpop shines a light on the tragic case of Shady Habash, a filmmaker who died in an Egyptian prison in May.
One study found that hoarders 'had lesions on the mesial prefrontal cortex of their brains ... Collecting and hoarding, in other words, are the results of brain damage.'
James Delbourgo explores the psychology of minimalists & collectors.
New double issue of @Lit_Review just out. Lots of incisive reviews ( including by @BurlM11 ) of a wide range of new history, politics, fiction and general books plus a nice little piece on Philip Larkin. Thoroughly recommended!