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Big Red

A Novel Starring Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles

by Jerome Charyn

Big Red by Jerome Charyn X
Big Red by Jerome Charyn
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  • Published:
    Aug 2022, 304 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Alexandros Mantzaris
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About this Book



An inventive reimagining of a famous Hollywood romance.

Jerome Charyn made his name as an author of detective novels, and over the years he has taken his criminal muse to some unlikely places. A good example is his 2010 novel The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson, where, among other activities, the author has the poetess figure out a spate of burglaries and fall desperately in love with not one, but two Victorian malefactors. Some were unimpressed with such flights, whose biographical basis was, needless to say, rather flimsy. Charyn is on safer ground introducing similar elements in his latest novel, a fictional retelling of the relationship between Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth (the titular "Big Red"). As biographical subjects, and as cinematic personae, Welles and Hayworth furnish more apt detective-story material than Amherst's Belle.

The other hat the author wears here is that of the cinéaste. Charyn is also a film expert and ...

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