Karoo

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Open City Books, 2004 - Fiction - 362 pages
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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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Karoo

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In his second novel (after Summer Crossing, LJ 10/1/82), the late screenwriter creates a memorable monster in the titular Karoo, a genius hack and aging Manhattan-bound script and film doctor who's ... Read full review

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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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About the author (2004)

E. L. (Edgar Lawrence) Doctorow was born on January 6, 1931, in the Bronx, New York. He received an A.B. in philosophy in 1952 from Kenyon College and did graduate work at Columbia University. He served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps from 1953-1955. He began his career as a script reader for CBS Television and Columbia Pictures and as a senior editor for the New American Library. He was editor-in-chief for Dial Press from 1964 to 1969, where he also served as vice president and publisher in his last year on staff. It was at this time that he decided to write full time. He wrote novels, short stories, essays, and a play. His debut novel, Welcome to Hard Times, was published in 1960 and was adapted into a film in 1967. His other works include, Loon Lake, The Waterworks, The March, Homer and Langley, and Andrew's Brain. He won the National Book Award for Fiction in 1986 for World's Fair and the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction in 1976 for Ragtime, which was adapted into a film in 1981 and a Broadway musical in 1998. Billy Bathgate received the PEN/Faulkner Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the William Dean Howells Medal in 1990. The Book of Daniel and Billy Bathgate were also adapted into films. He received the 2013 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters for his outstanding achievement in fiction writing. He died of complications from lung cancer on July 21, 2015 at the age of 84.

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