In this novel, Memoirs and Misinformation, a multimillionaire actor named Jim Carrey, who’s previous his prime, is slumping his means via a funk: the dread of dying and oblivion, of being alone and unloved. He’s getting few film provides, and these he considers beneath him, comparable to voicing an animated character for a film based mostly on a online game. A documentary concerning the destruction of Pompeii makes him burst out crying. Even ‘shamanic’ ceremonies performed by the guru of a personality referred to as Kelsey Grammer, and heart-to-heart chats together with his finest buddy Nic Cage, don’t assist elevate his temper. When a lover enters Carrey’s life and he thinks his ache is gone, that he’s crammed the Renee Zellweger-shaped gap in his coronary heart, that he’s lastly discovered his one real love, it seems that actuality is far grimmer than his throbbing expectations. And although Carrey sees a glimmer of cinematic resurrection within the type of his buddy and auteur Charlie Kaufman, and although he’s prepared to subsume his sense of self into the function of Mao Zedong, even that dream seems to be vapour.
While the protagonist of the novel known as Jim Carrey, and whereas the story absolutely comprises fairly a couple of autobiographical particulars, conceptual layers are added to it via using the third-person narrative and the involvement of co-author Dana Vachon, making it as chimeric as Carrey’s onscreen persona. And as a result of there are fantasy and science-fictional parts added, this can’t be referred to as an autobiographical novel; it is a fantasy novel.
272pp, Rs 2358; Alfred A Knopf
Carrey and the opposite characters in Memoirs and Misinformation are largely looking for redemption, varied types of it comparable to a need to regain fame, love or an approximation of it, success, or peace. For Carrey, redemption appears to be like like immunity from oblivion: an Academy award that he hopes to get even when in so doing he dangers dropping his sense of self in a personality. The authors write, “He felt, again, the old impressionist’s fear, that the throne of the self was not only empty, but not a throne at all, just a creaky barstool worn down by the weight of ten thousand asses…What would a Jim even be if Jim was ultimately just the creation of a billion strangers’ minds?” This is nearly as good a passage as any concerning the nature of celeb and the delicate sense of self. The protagonist, maybe, struggles to inform fantasy and actuality aside, a trait to which his flash-lit red-carpet previous could have contributed. To name him insecure is an enormous understatement.
Jim Carrey at a particular screening of Sonic the Hedgehog on February 12, 2020.
Here, the fantasy-fuelled world of showbiz, which has superior sufficient to resurrect live-looking actors via 3D animation, appears as unreal because the world outdoors. The world outdoors is working out of time, is neon-speckled, dotted with buffoonish criminals working for president, mountainsides actually going up in flames, and, why not, alien craft within the sky. It’s a setting wherein something can occur, and does, together with the Rapture. This makes for a couple of hilarious scenes. For occasion, there’s a very humorous scene wherein Gwyneth Paltrow, Sean Penn, and Kelsey Grammer assemble a “shoulder-fired missile system” from a crate marked ‘ARMED FORCES OF ANGOLA’. The story, which tries to be a satirical send-up of the showbiz world, in its remaining pages turns into a lampoon of Hollywood tropes. The e-book is fantastical and trippy but it surely’s not rip-roaringly humorous as you’ll count on any e-book to be that’s related to Jim Carrey, that beloved prankster we all know and love from The Mask and Ace Ventura, and that surprisingly nuanced performer who took our breath away in The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Those and different movies will nonetheless be his main legacy.
One of the e-book’s themes is of being trapped in a half-real, half-fake, and wholly insufferable actuality; a form of hallucinogenic Truman Show. There can also be the hollowness of fame and materials wealth, and the self-obsessed nature of the world at present. Quite a few well-liked literary references are thrown in, from The War of the Worlds to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
So far so good, however for a serious flaw: the novel, for essentially the most half, doesn’t develop its scenes, it narrates them. It embraces a summarising strategy as if the occasions within the story have been being informed by a commentator. This makes the e-book much less immersive than it may have been. As narrative technique goes, it leaves most scenes half-baked; they stream by earlier than they land. It’s as if the writers dreaded the grim spectre of the reader’s Declining Attention Span, and sought to make the e-book as breezy as attainable, to its personal detriment. In some locations, what retains you hooked is the name-dropping of characters named after celebrities — Katie Holmes, Kelsey Grammer, Anthony Hopkins, John Travolta. Occasionally, a well-painted scene comes alongside however this doesn’t occur usually sufficient to redeem the narrative. That is why the novel left me with a sense of poignancy. It had immense potential to be an immersive weed-trip via Hollywood, celeb, and self obsession, which is a big chunk of at present’s mass tradition. In the top, it’s a competently informed story that would have been rather more.
Suhit Kelkar is an impartial journalist. He lives in Mumbai.
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