(From the publisher):
"I am damned, all because I wanted to be in Civilization."
So begins Paul Quarrington's eagerly awaited new novel, a searingly funny and unique look at the early years of Hollywood and the American film industry.
Narrated by the young Thom Moss, Civilization is the astounding story of two young men who venture out at the beginning of the twentieth century to find fame and fortune. A string of bad luck and startling coincidences land Thom and his oldest friend, Jefferson Foote, in the thick of Hollywoodland, employed by the renowned and much feared Caspar Willison, master of the two-reel cowboy Flicker. Part D.W. Griffith, part Erich Von Stroheim, Willison is a man of vision, if not manners and diplomacy. In his uniform of jodhpurs and matching six-guns, he bullies and cajoles his rag-tag cast and crew, all the while pushing the limited on he infant art form of movie making.
Amidst the daily chaos inherent in film production at that time -- faulty pyrotechnics, actors' egos run amok, loss of both human and animal life -- Thom falls in love with leading lady Thespa Doone, a rather odd but beautiful silent siren who wears men's clothing when she wears anything at all. However, dispute Thom's early popularity as a screen cowboy, and his romance with Thespa, things start to unravel at an alarming rate, mostly due to the realization that there is no role for him in Willison's upcoming master work, the epic "Civilization".
Knowing that his days are numbered, Moss manipulates Willison into performing increasingly dangerous stunts, leading ultimately to a fateful act of destruction.
Masterfully written, and an absolute joy to read, this is a stunning addition to Paul Quarrington's impressive body of work.
Original title: Civilization
Genre: Fiction→ General Fiction→ Humor