Garbo Laughs

Front Cover
McClelland & Stewart, 2004 - Alienation (Social psychology) - 384 pages
4 Reviews
A Globe and Mail Notable Book of the Year
A Quill & Quire Top Five Canadian Fiction Book of the Year
A Maclean’s Top Ten Book of the Year


Elizabeth Hay’s runaway national bestseller is a funny, sad-eyed, deliciously entertaining novel about a woman caught in a tug of war between real life and the films of the past. Inflamed by the movies she was deprived of as a child, Harriet Browning forms a Friday-night movie club with three companions-of-the-screen: a boy who loves Frank Sinatra, a girl with Bette Davis eyes, and an earthy sidekick named after Dinah Shore. Into this idiosyncratic world, in time with the devastating ice storm of 1998, come two refugees from Hollywood: Harriet’s Aunt Leah, the jaded widow of a screenwriter blacklisted in the 1950s, and her sardonic, often overbearing stepson, Jack. They bring harsh reality and illuminate the pull of family and friendship, the sting of infidelity and revenge, the shock of illness and sudden loss. Poignant, brilliant, and delightfully droll, Garbo Laughs reveals how the dramas of everyday life are sometimes the most astonishing of all.


From the Hardcover edition.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - MarthaJeanne - LibraryThing

The main character is an unsuccessful writer obsessed with movies. If that describes you, you might enjoy this. Otherwise you will probably get tired of all the mentions of movies you haven't seen, or only seen once. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - RandyMetcalfe - LibraryThing

Elizabeth Hay introduces her novel with an epigraph from legendary film critic, Pauline Kael: “We will never know the extent of the damage that movies are doing to us.” That brilliantly sets the ... Read full review

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About the author (2004)

Elizabeth Hay is the author of two highly acclaimed, bestselling novels. Her first novel, A Student of Weather (2000), won the CAA MOSAID Technologies Inc. Award for Fiction and the TORGI Award, and was a finalist for The Giller Prize, the Ottawa Book Award, and the Pearson Canada Reader’s Choice Award at The Word on the Street. Her most recent novel, Garbo Laughs (2003), won the Ottawa Book Award and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award. She is also the author of Crossing the Snow Line (stories, 1989); The Only Snow in Havana (non-fiction, 1992); Captivity Tales: Canadians in New York (non-fiction, 1993), and Small Change (stories, 1997), which was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award, the Trillium Award, and the Rogers Communications Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Her stories have been anthologized in Best Canadian Stories, The Journey Prize Anthology, and The Oxford Book of Stories by Canadian Women, edited by Rosemary Sullivan. She has won a National Magazine Award Gold Medal for Fiction and a Western Magazine Award for Fiction. In 2002, she received the prestigious Marian Engel Award.

Elizabeth Hay lives in Ottawa.

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