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Book Review: ‘Good Company’, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney


“She felt a release from something she had been tamping down for a long time, and it didn’t look terrible, it was hot and runny, and if the feeling took any sensible form it would be a huge glowing question mark,” Writes Sweeney.

“Did she still have to accept a name she hated?”

“Did she still love Julian?”

“Should she stay married?”

“Did she want?

If that sounds like a promotional copy for a Netflix poster, well… success! While reading “Good Company” I found myself mentally auditioning actors for the inevitable series. Tellingly, I didn’t find myself imagining more than a handful of real-time, real-time scenes, as the book doesn’t contain so many. Much of the first third of the novel is devoted to history. We see Flora struggling as a stage actor before finding work as a voice actor. We see Julian struggling with lukewarm love. In a “cute encounter” so ridiculous that even the writers of “Cedar” would likely cut it off, David, as a young doctor, is seen rushing onto the stage during a performance of Shakespeare in the Park after an actor s collapsed on stage. He performs chest compressions in front of a stunned audience and, after stabilizing the patient, is approached by Margot, ethereal in her fairy costume, who takes her hands in gratitude. The audience applauds.

In “The Nest,” a family saga about legacy, Sweeney’s tendency towards the cliché and Hallmark moments was thwarted by the sharp edges and dark forces of at least a few characters. “Good Company” sometimes makes gestures in this direction. The woman involved in Julian’s betrayal is contradictory, even pathetic. The idea that such a person can wield so much sexual and emotional power is fascinating; I wanted more of her and a little less of Flora’s nice girl wringing her hand.

Likewise, the behind-the-scenes machinations of the “Cedar” ensemble provide moments of delightful satire. When Margot learns that her character is going to be killed, the show’s creator, a fearsome but anxious dean in the vein of Shonda Rhimes, lets her go to a brainstorming session on what would make vanity’s most calming disappearance: death. kick. It’s going to be so good that everyone will be clamoring to hire you.

Sweeney is exceptionally good at gently growling Hollywood. Just as she absolutely nails the middle of “Cedar” formula, her description of “Griffith”, the animated musical series on which Flora ultimately finds a stable and reasonably satisfying gig voicing a lioness, is perfect. A show where the animals of the now extinct Griffith Park Zoo function as metaphorical representations of Hollywood actors classified by typography and ageism? Someone gives the green light immediately!

Meanwhile, “Good Company,” with its pre-spotted locations and fully rendered characters looking for things to do, is a promising piece of IP Sweeney may or may not have scriptwriting ambitions, but j ‘would like to see her do something with it. .



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