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Life Goes to the Movies, by Peter Selgin

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Life Goes to the Movies, by Peter Selgin


Life Goes to the Movies, by Peter Selgin


Publication Date: May 1, 2009
Paperback: 206 pages
ISBN: 978-0-979312-38-0
Trim: 7.9 x 5.5


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When Vietnam-veteran-turned-film-maker Dwaine Fitzgibbon (“D for Death, W for War, A for Anarchy, I for Insane, N for Nightmare, and E for the End of the World”) takes Nigel DePoli under his wing to teach him about movies and life, Nigel thinks he’s found the perfect antidote to his small-town, immigrant child’s upbringing. But Dwaine is arguably insane, and the greatest movie they’ll ever collaborate on is the one he produces in Nigel’s gullible, hero-addled mind.
Their erotically tinged friendship is the subject of what one sly reader has called an “anti-homophobic” novel, a bond strengthened but also tested by their mutual love for Veronica “Venus” Dwiggins, a beautiful albino costume designer. With Dwaine less and less able or willing to distinguish between reality and cinema, Nigel must choose between sanity and loyalty. The story climaxes with Nigel’s gambit to rescue Dwaine from the psychiatric ward where he has taken flight, a scheme involving a considerable budget, a cast and crew of hospitalized V-vets, and the world’s most famous soft-drink.


“Wonderfully inventive and elegantly crafted, Life Goes to the Movies brims with exuberance and wit. Both a celebration and something of an elegy for the golden age of Hollywood, this novel reeled me in with its propulsive energy and won me over before I had finished chapter one.” —Frederick Reiken, author of The Lost Legends of New Jersey 

"Love, madness and the movies come together in the dazzling, intoxicating story of a young man’s obsessive friendship with a Vietnam vet.” —Anne Landsman, author of The Rowing Lesson 

Life Goes to the Movies is the irresistible account of a passionate friendship between two young men, both star-struck by art. Selgin’s vivid account of New York in the 1970s, his richly complex characters, his encyclopedic knowledge of film and his sense of how small the gap is between good luck and bad make this an utterly absorbing novel. A wonderful read.” —Margot Livesey, author of The House on Fortune Street

“Peter Selgin’s novel is sheer delight—a delicious tale of love, and of America’s ongoing love affair with movies. It is offbeat, compelling, and filled with memorable tales told by a splendid storyteller. Anyone who loves movies—or would love to make a movie!—will love Life Goes to the Movies.” —Jay Neugeboren, author of 1940 andImagining Robert

“Peter Selgin fulfills the promise of Drowning Lessons, his fearless first book of stories, in this first novel, with its layers haunted with film lore and by its car-accident-in-progress protagonist. Each sentence dips into light to bear up surprising scenes.” —Donald Newlove, author of The Painter Gabriel  

“With Life Goes To The Movies, Peter Selgin aims far higher than most of us poor storytellers ever dare. From beginning to end, I kept imagining the funnels of smoke that surely must have risen from his keyboard as he wrote this potent, superbly crafted, and wonderfully ambitious novel.” —Donald Ray Pollock, author of Knockemstiff


"Peter Selgin's debut novel Life Goes to the Movies may be read in several ways: first, as a comic romp, with nods to On the Road andFear and Loathing in Las Vegas along the way. And like the colorful cast in Kerouac's novel—Dwaine Fitzgibbon the stand-in for Dean Moriarty, that famed "holy con-man with the shining mind"—the main characters in Life Goes to the Movies, take drop-everything-now cross-country trips, "doing something so frantic and rushing about." Like Kerouac's Sal, Nigel is a tabula rasa waiting to be inscribed." Diagram

"Selgin excels at blending cinematic imagery into a literary narrative.  Each chapter paints a vivid picture of setting, character, and action, setting the scenes with beautifully written establishing shots and smooth transitions that resemble fade-ins or slow dissolves.  It’s like watching a movie unfold on the page." Live Nude Books



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