Stardust: Book summary and reviews of Stardust by Joseph Kanon

Stardust

A Novel

By Joseph Kanon

Stardust
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2009,
    512 pages.

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Book Summary

Hollywood, 1945. Ben Collier has just arrived from war-torn Europe to find that his brother, Daniel, has died in mysterious circumstances. Why would a man with a beautiful wife, a successful career in the movies, and a heroic past choose to kill himself?

Determined to uncover the truth, Ben enters the maze of the studio system and the uneasy world beneath the glossy shine of the movie business. For this is the moment when politics and the dream factories are beginning to collide as Communist witch hunts render the biggest stars and star makers vulnerable. Even here, where the devastation of Europe seems no more real than a painted movie set, the war casts long and dangerous shadows. When Ben learns troubling facts about his own family's past, he is caught in the middle of a web of deception that shakes his moral foundation to its core.

Rich with atmosphere and period detail, Stardust flawlessly blends fact and fiction into a haunting thriller evoking both the glory days of the movies and the emergence of a dark strain of American political life.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Kanon perfectly balances action and introspection, while smoothly integrating such real-life figures as actress Paulette Goddard into the plot." - Publishers Weekly

"While not as engrossing as some of Kanon's earlier efforts (e.g., Los Alamos), especially for those without a healthy background knowledge of the period, this ambitious novel is for anyone interested in Hollywood in the late 1940s or the film industry's response to the era's congressional witch hunts." - Library Journal

"Starred Review. Yes, it's too long, resulting in a certain noticeable softness around the middle, but time and place are so vividly evoked, and the writing is so strong, that most readers will be of a mind to forgive." - Kirkus Reviews

"If this juxtaposition of noir sensibility against Tinseltown melodrama sometimes fails to meld smoothly, the novel nevertheless re-creates a time and a place with pinpoint accuracy...." - Booklist

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Author Information

Joseph Kanon Author Biography

© Marion Ettlinger

Joseph Kanon was born in Pennsylvania and was educated at Harvard and Trinity College, Cambridge. While still an undergraduate, he began a career in publishing as a reader for The Atlantic and subsequently held editorial positions at The Saturday Review, Little,Brown, and Coward, McCann.

In 1995, on a visit to the Southwest, he visited Los Alamos and conceived the idea for a novel about the Manhattan Project. Los Alamos was a best-seller, translated into 20 languages, and won the Edgar Award for best first novel. Now a full-time writer, he followed it with The Prodigal Spy, The Good German, Alibi and Stardust. The Good German was made into a film with George Clooney and Cate Blanchett, directed by Steven Soderbergh.

Kanon won the Hammett Award of the International Association of ...

... Full Biography
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