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Narrated by: Simon Slater
Length: 11 hrs and 29 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

John Connolly brings Stan Laurel to life in this extraordinary novel about the comedian's wildly successful and tender partnership with Oliver Hardy during the anarchy of early Hollywood

John Connolly conjures the Golden Age of Hollywood in this moving, literary portrait of two men who find their true selves in a comedic partnership. When Stan Laurel is paired with Oliver Hardy, affectionately known as Babe, the history of comedy - not to mention their personal and professional lives - is altered forever.

Yet Laurel's simple screen persona masks a complex human being, one who endures rejection and intense loss; who struggles to build a character from the dying stages of vaudeville to the seedy and often volatile movie studios of Los Angeles in the early years of cinema; and who is haunted by the figure of another comic genius, the brilliant, driven, and cruel Charlie Chaplin.

Eventually, Laurel becomes one of the greatest screen comedians the world has ever known: a man who enjoys both adoration and humiliation; who loved, and is loved in turn; who betrays, and is betrayed; who never seeks to cause pain to anyone else, yet leaves a trail of affairs and broken marriages in his wake. 

But Laurel's life is ultimately defined by one relationship of such astonishing tenderness and devotion that only death could sever this profound connection: his love for Babe. Shot through with the competing themes of loyalty and heartbreak, ambition and selflessness, artistry and compromise, this novel is an unforgettable testament to the redemptive power of love, as experienced by one of the 20th century's greatest performers.

©2018 John Connolly (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"The life and art of Stan Laurel, from vaudeville and silent movies to the talkies and old age, is explored in this artful novel . . . The book's great love story is that of Laurel mourning and yearning for his late partner [Oliver Hardy], still writing routines for the two of them, rehearsing them by himself. It's the best tribute to this novel that by the end of it you feel you have been given the full texture of a life." (Kirkus Reviews)

"With only the pronouns of 'he' or 'him,' author John Connolly reimagines [comedian Stan] Laurel in both abstract and three-dimensional ways, getting to the soul of Laurel, the comic, the multi-married, forever-in-debt-with-alimony and alcoholic...Gracefully written." (Oline Cogdill, Associated Press)

"Ambitious... Written in spare, fractured prose from the perspective of a narrator who seems to be reporting from inside Laurel's mind... Evoke[s] the style of Samuel Beckett." (Jason Zinoman, The New York Times)

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  • R. Dack
  • St. Louis Park, MN United States
  • 04-20-19

Some fact, some speculation, strong lang, sex desc

the book was okay. here's the basics. Stan was born in England. Sullivan Theater owner. travel was chaplain in a theater troupe in his early years. left the theater troupe went on his own and was unsuccessful till he met Hardy. I 10 years of success under Hal Roach. Stan fought with Hal Roach. Stan was married multiple times. Oliver was married multiple times but not as much as Stan. Throughout the forties and early to Middle 50s they did poor films. Oliver Hardy dies in 1957. The book ends there. Nothing about the death of Stan. unfortunately this book does not stick with a strong chronology it bounces back and forth between the early 1960s and Stans earlier days. Back and forth, back and forth. So the reader has to trying to figure out which time he's referring to..