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`Spiotta is a wonder.' - George Saunders, author of Lincoln in the Bardo
Meadow Mori and Carrie Wexler grew up together in Los Angeles, and both became film-makers.
Meadow makes challenging documentaries; Carrie makes successful feature films with a feminist slant. The two friends have everything in common - except their views on sex, power, movie-making and morality. And yet their loyalty trumps their different approaches to film and to life.
Until, one day, a mysterious woman with a unique ability to cold-call and seduce powerful men over the phone - not through sex, but through listening - becomes the subject of one of Meadow's documentaries. Her downfall, and what makes her so extraordinarily moving, is that she pretends to be someone she is not. The fallout from this challenges their friendship like nothing before.
Heart-breaking and insightful, Innocents and Others by Dana Spiotta is an astonishing novel about friendship, identity, loneliness and art.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
A wondrous and mysterious novel, a spectacular and subtle meditation on sight and sound . . . brilliant, and erotic, and pop -- Rachel Kushner, author of The Flamethrowers A literary marvel . . . As Don DeLillo did for rock and roll with Great Jones Street, so Spiotta does for film . . . Her aim is nothing less than redemption, and she delivers -- Mary Karr, author of The Liars' Club A fine novel . . . flawless and epic -- Joshua Ferris, author of To Rise Again at a Decent Hour A daring and beautiful meditation about selfishness and selflessness, and how to be in the world. Spiotta is a wonder -- George Saunders, author of Tenth of December The brilliant Dana Spiotta had me from page one --a lithely intelligent, moving inquiry into the mysterious compositions of art and friendships -- Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins A wonderfully gifted writer with an uncanny feel for the absurdities and sadnesses of contemporary life -- Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times A thrillingly complex and emotionally astute novel about fame, power, and alienation steeped in a dark eroticism and a particularly American kind of loneliness * Vanity Fair * It's difficult not to descend into hyperbole talking about Spiotta's work . . . it's rare to find a novel that is so much fun and, at the same time, seeks emotional truth with such intellectual rigor * LA Times * Spiotta tackles the slippery nature of identity and the destructive pull of desire in her fourth novel-this time through the lens of film...captivating...moving...always thought provoking. * Publishers Weekly * The visionary liberty and daring with which Dana Spiotta has crafted her brilliant new novel, Innocents and Others (Scribner), is both inspirational and infectious. * Elle * Like Joan Didion and Don DeLillo, two legends to whom she's often compared, Dana Spiotta is a master of observing the way cultural artifacts take up so much space in our daily lives. Her latest novel takes place in the world of film in the 1980s, and two friends who've taken dramatically different paths in their careers as filmmakers . . . As the two friends' lives intersect with a woman named Jelly, who has anonymous yet romantic phone conversations with the Hollywood elite, it's clear how an undeniable trait of humanity is seek meaningful connection in an isolating world * Esquire (US) * Dana Spiotta's fearless, ambitious new novel explores our ongoing obsession with fame and technological change. Meadow Mori and Carrie Wexler are childhood friends raised on the fringes of Hollywood. Both become filmmakers - Meadow a documentarian and Carrie taking the more commercial route. Also central to the story is Jelly, a lonely, vulnerable woman with an unusual approach to phone sex who agrees to be the subject of one of Meadow's documentaries - a choice she comes to regret. Throughout this complicated and important book, Spiotta reminds us to wonder what's "real" and what's constructed by visible or invisible others * NPR * The complex relationship among three women and the film world drives this tale of technology and its discontents [...] A superb, spiky exploration of artistic motivation * Kirkus * Every sentence is full of information and verve, jumping with thoughtfulness and precision and, like that flash of white teeth, the unexpected...this sophisticated literary construct of a book has us unpacking meaning as fast as we turn the pages. -- Kirsty Gunn * Guardian * Masterful, a novel as elegant and audacious as it is absorbing and complex. For the closer we move to the truth of her characters and their dilemmas, the clearer it -becomes that truth is both immense and provisional, the understandings it offers startling and elusive. -- James Bradley * The Australian * Enjoyed the understated, oblique prose of Dana Spiotta's Innocents & Others. Slender book to which multiple perspectives give depth. -- Joyce Carol Oates Abounds in tricks and dangerous games of self-invention ... An extremely clever novel, about art, identity and ideas, but Meadowesque intellectualism is always combined with Carrie's sense of humour and warm heart. * Financial Times *