Karoo

Front Cover
Open City Books, 2004 - Fiction - 362 pages
Saul Karoo is a memorable creation. He is a successful Hollywood script doctor, a fixer of flawed films. He is fifty, overweight, a heavy drinker and chain smoker. He is at an age when things break down, but he has no health insurance. His separation from his wife, Dinah, has become another form of marriage. His relationship with his son, Billy, a college student, is one of pure avoidance. He cannot free himself from the grip of the powerful producer Jay Cromwell, who wants him to recut thelast great film of the legendary director Arthur Houseman and make it more commercial. After seeing the film, Karoo considers refusing the job. But he soon becomes obsessed with Leila Miller, an unknown actress whom he has spotted in a small scene. In fact Karoo becomes convinced that she is the mother of his adopted son, Billy, and he becomes determined to track her down.

Karoo finds Leila in Venice Beach (where she's one of thousands of Hollywood hopefuls), working as a waitress and haunted by the memory of the baby she gave up for adoption. Karoo falls in love with her, and in the grip of his newfound devotion uses every cheap screenwriter's trick to change Houseman's poignant masterpiece into an outrageous comedy that will make Leila a star. And, he plans to unite the long-lost mother and child at the film's premiere. But Billy, not knowing that Leila is his mother, also falls for her and she for him. The triangle ends in an auto accident, with Karoo driving, in which Billy and Leila are killed and the recut film, becomes a huge success. Devastated by the personal disaster he has helped to create, Karoo winds up being hired by Cromwell to transform a journalistic expose of his own tragic machinations into a screenplay.

Steve Tesich has grounded his story in the highly recognizable world of New York in the late-eighties, a milieu of unscrupulous West Coast producers, dry cleaning, divorce and fantasies of escape. Karoo is a haunting, highly human, deliciously realistic novel of decline, fall, and rejuvenation.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - oldblack - LibraryThing

"Hilarious" in a cover blurb of a book would normally make me put the book back on the shelf. This book has such a blurb, but I guess I was drawn to the "A powerful and deeply disturbing portrait ... Read full review

KAROO

User Review  - Kirkus

Original, hugely ambitious, seriocomic deathsong by the late Tesich (Summer Crossing, 1982), a screenwriting Oscar-winner for Breaking Away (1979). Tesich died in 1996, at age 53, having completed ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

New York
2
CHAPTER ONE
4
CHAPTER TWO
28
CHAPTER THREE
33
CHAPTER FOUR
49
CHAPTER FIVE
58
CHAPTER SIX
69
CHAPTER SEVEN
77
CHAPTER ONE
187
CHAPTER TWO
196
CHAPTER THREE
200
Pittsburgh
203
CHAPTER ONE
205
CHAPTER TWO
212
CHAPTER THREE
217
CHAPTER FOUR
222

CHAPTER EIGHT
85
CHAPTER NINE
91
CHAPTER TEN
97
CHAPTER ELEVEN
105
CHAPTER TWELVE
114
Los Angeles
129
CHAPTER ONE
131
CHAPTER TWO
136
CHAPTER THREE
143
CHAPTER FOUR
149
CHAPTER FIVE
158
CHAPTER SIX
163
CHAPTER SEVEN
170
CHAPTER EIGHT
174
Sotogrande
185
CHAPTER FIVE
236
CHAPTER SIX
244
CHAPTER SEVEN
248
CHAPTER EIGHT
257
CHAPTER NINE
265
Here and There
283
CHAPTER ONE
285
CHAPTER TWO
296
CHAPTER THREE
301
CHAPTER FOUR
308
CHAPTER FIVE
310
CHAPTER SIX
313
CHAPTER SEVEN
332
CHAPTER EIGHT
343
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