joi , 30 noiembrie 2023

“Catch A Fallen Star: A Hollywood Novel,” by Lawrence Grobel

Catch a Fallen Star is the first novel I’ve read by Lawrence Grobel, a prolific writer more known for non-fiction. He is widely regarded as “the Mozart of Interviewers” and in fact truly wrote the book on The Art of the Interview. That’s the title of his famous book, undoubtedly found in the libraries of both print and broadcast journalists around the world (I recently saw copies of a Romanian edition in a popular Brasov, Romania book store).

Lawrence Grobel has sat down and had conversations with just about everybody who could be called iconic: Marlon Brando, James Michener, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, Truman Capote, Barbra Streisand, and I could go on all day. If that interests you, check out the interview we did which was broadcast on the radio, it’s archived here for your listening satisfaction:

Celebrities have some of the same problems as everybody else. Some could make the case that the chances of drug addiction, addiction to affairs/prostitutes, heavy gambling and other socially unacceptable behaviors are more common with those who have a lot of fame and power. Lawrence Grobel knows about the public’s fascination with celebrities—the provocative, the outrageous, the eccentric and the unstable. He’s also interviewed people in all phases of stardom: before the rise of fame, at the peak of recognition and success, as well as those stars that simply aren’t burning as bright as their heyday. One cannot help, but wonder if any or many of the interviews Grobel did inspired the characters in Catch a Fallen Star, especially the main character Layton Cross. No longer the huge movie star he once was, Layton Cross faced the myriad of issues many people do, things like divorce, drug abuse, an unsatisfying professional life and facing the inevitability of immortality.

Grobel’s creation of the character of Layton Cross takes the readers into the mind of a person whose life is unraveling. Author Stephen King once said something to the effect that if readers don’t care about the characters of a book, nobody cares what happens to them. I think that’s true. Maybe they want the character to be victorious or maybe they want them dead, but there must be an emotional involvement. That’s what makes Grobel’s book such a good tale. At 556 pages, Catch a Fallen Star is by no means a simple story. The plot is intricate and as twisty as Mulholland Drive.

I ended up reading the book voraciously because of the fact that I kept toggling back and forth between hating and rooting for the main character and wanted to know his fate. If you think about it, lots of fascinating people and characters are just like this, never clearly good or evil. Charlie Sheen’s rise to mass fame was all about whether he was off his rocker or really standing up to the entertainment industry establishment. Layton Cross in some ways seems like a less eccentric Charlie Sheen.

Catch a Fallen Star has a lot of conflict and resolution, only to have the main character knowingly or unknowingly place himself in jeopardy yet again. The reader is kept in perpetual uncertainty. Grobel is someone who closely examines personalities and unique characteristics, and this is what makes his book so compelling. So many of the characters, not just Layton Cross, would surprise me with their actions. Just when you think someone is not capable of something, you’re inevitably proven wrong.

Catch a Fallen Star was a lot of things: touching, exhilarating, explicit and full of suspense. The story reminded me of some of the best graphic novels in the intricacy of the plot, making me wonder if an artist in the comic world (a genre quickly gaining in prestige and recognition) will one day adapt this story into the format.

If you’re looking for a page turner, Grobel proved that he can play ball in the fiction realm as well. Recommended.

CATCH A FALLEN STAR, by Lawrence Grobel

Pub. Date: September 23, 2014

$18.95 | Softcover | 5.2 x 1.4 x 8 inches | 556 pp


Larry Grobel’s most recent book is „You, Talking To Me,” which you can find on Amazon.

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