Book Review: ‘Good Company,’ by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

“She felt a loosening of something she’d tamped down for a long time, and it didn’t feel awful, it felt warm and liquid, and if the feeling were to take a sentient shape it would be an enormous glowing question mark,” Sweeney writes.

“Did she nonetheless have to just accept a reputation she hated?

“Did she nonetheless love Julian?

“Did she have to remain married?

“Did she wish to?”

If this appears like promotional copy for a Netflix poster, effectively … success! Reading “Good Company,” I discovered myself mentally auditioning actors for the inevitable collection. Tellingly, I didn’t discover myself imagining greater than a handful of precise, real-time scenes, as a result of the e book doesn’t have all that many. Much of the primary third of the novel is taken up with again story. We see Flora struggling as a stage actor earlier than discovering work as a voice actor. We see Julian battling lukewarm love. In a “meet cute” so ridiculous that even the writers of “Cedar” would most likely reduce it, we see David, as a younger physician, rush onstage at a Shakespeare within the Park efficiency after an actor collapses onstage. He performs chest compressions in entrance of a shocked viewers and, upon stabilizing the affected person, is approached by Margot, ethereal in her fairy costume, who takes his fingers in gratitude. The viewers applauds.

In “The Nest,” a household saga about inheritance, Sweeney’s tendency towards cliché and Hallmark moments was undercut by the sharp edges and darkish forces of at the least a couple of characters. “Good Company” often gestures in that course. The girl concerned in Julian’s betrayal is self-contradictory, even pathetic. The concept that such an individual might wield a lot sexual and emotional energy is fascinating; I needed extra of her and rather less of Flora’s good lady hand-wringing.

Similarly, the behind-the-scenes machinations of the “Cedar” set supply moments of scrumptious satire. When Margot learns her character might be killed off, the present’s creator, a formidable however anxious doyenne within the Shonda Rhimes vein, indulges her in a brainstorming session about what would make for probably the most vanity-appeasing demise: “I’m giving you a kick-ass death. It’s going to be so good everyone will clamor to hire you.”

Sweeney is uncommonly expert at gently lampooning Hollywood. Just as she completely nails the formulaic milieu of “Cedar,” her description of “Griffith,” the animated musical collection on which Flora finally finds a gradual, fairly satisfying gig voicing a lioness, is pitch good. A present the place animals on the now-defunct Griffith Park Zoo perform as metaphorical representations of Hollywood actors pigeonholed by typecasting and ageism? Someone greenlight that instantly!

Meanwhile, “Good Company,” with its pre-scouted areas and totally rendered characters searching for issues to do, is a promising piece of I.P. Sweeney might or might not have screenwriting ambitions, however I’d like to see her do one thing with it.

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