What readers think of Mercury Pictures Presents, plus links to write your own review.

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Mercury Pictures Presents

A Novel

by Anthony Marra

Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony Marra X
Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony Marra
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2022, 432 pages

    Jun 2023, 448 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
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There are currently 15 reader reviews for Mercury Pictures Presents
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Cindy R

Historical Brilliance
MERCURY PICTURES PRESENTS (Hogarth) by Anthony Marra is brilliant on so many levels. It's hilarious one moment, then turns serious, all the while presenting multi-dimensional, complex characters within a complicated novel. .

It's 1940s pre-war Europe: Immigrants are fleeing the continent on the cusp of WWII. Maria and her mother escape Italy's dictator, Benito Mussolini for America. They leave behind her father and a neighborhood boy who are imprisoned. In Los Angeles, Maria gets a job at Mercury Pictures Studio as an associate producer, working for studio founder, Artie Feldman, an eccentric man who believes women can work during these sexist times. Maria tries to forget her past but reminders are around every corner. She interacts with other recent immigrants, many who are also dealing with the guilt of leaving her father behind and the ever-present memories of what once was home.

MERCURY PICTURES PRESENTS reveals the lives of so many people in Europe and in America struggling to get by as war rages on. While reading you might want to keep notes to stay connected. This novel is historical fiction at its finest. The plot, lessons of war, intelligent characters and the wonderful writing by Anthony Marra will keep you feverishly flipping pages to the end. At first I thought this would make a fabulous movie, but I don't think Hollywood could achieve the same quality of story. Well perhaps, if produced by Steven Spielberg or Martin Scorsese.

Thank you BookBrowse for the opportunity to read this for an honest review.
Lynne Lambert

Mercury Pictures Presents a winner
Anthony Marra is no stranger to good reviews, but until I read Mercury Pictures Presents, his latest novel, I was a stranger to his work. But, if Mercury Pictures Presents introduced me to anything, it was to a cast of characters richly developed, prose, especially dialogue, that sparkles and crackles, and to a slice of WWII history that resonates today as it threatens to repeat itself. It also insists that I have some Anthony Marra catching up to do.
The novel captures the big picture through the lens of a Leica camera’s prints and movie studio films. It focuses on the idea of imposed boundaries and restricted opportunities for marginalized people: women, refugees, the ethically profiled, and those caught in the sticky web of politics. It is a time capsule of the 1930’s-40’s, but a capsule with unusual artifacts from very different places – the artificial world of Hollywood, California, and the surreal world of Fascist Italy.
The Feldman brothers, twins around whom the novel circles, thrive on a love-hate relationship as they run a B level Hollywood film studio, Mercury Pictures. Artie and Ned have different visions for the future of Mercury Pictures which lead them to follow different trajectories. They may be twins, but they couldn’t be more different temperamentally. The characters who revolve around them include actors, artists, technicians, financiers, producers and secretaries with larger ambitions than the typing pool. Many of them are immigrants fleeing the war in Europe and hoping for new opportunities in America. Hollywood film studios are a mecca for this fantasy. Two women stand out, one Italian and one German. Each is an emigre from the chaos of Fascist Europe. Each is fleeing personal demons. Each is able to use her skill set to manipulate the American dream.
Thematically, the novel is a constant reminder that appearance and reality are rarely the same thing. The internal and external worlds of the novel are saturated with propaganda – lies to instill patriotism, lies to instill fear, lies to tell oneself, lies to tell the world, lies to bury in the past to make the present more livable.
While the novel balances on a world at war, the characters within the novel each battle their own private wars. They navigate a world where one set of restrictions can become another set of restrictions, where survival often dictates betrayal, and family ties both hold and break. It is a novel of big ideas and big personalities.
It is also a novel imbued with wit, delicious descriptions, intricate plot lines that could complicate but instead elucidate, and surprising historical revelations. In short, Mercury Pictures Presents deserves top billing on everyone’s current reading (or even re-reading) list.

There have been so many books written about WWII that it’s difficult to find one that tells a new story or Carrie’s a new perspective. This book is the rare story; richly written and hard to describe. It’s the story of the influx of European emigres during the war many of them who find themselves attracted to Hollywood and the opportunities there. It’s the story of a b movie studio called Mercury Pictures that hires many of these emigres. It’s the story, especially, of Italian emigres who come to America to escape the tyranny of Fascism only to find themselves living in under suspicion, curfews, and restrictions after Italy joins Germany in war. The story is so reach in characters that it’s almost overbearing and minor characters are given as much story as the main characters. The language is so beautiful to read and it’s rich metaphors are a joy to read. I loved this book and anyone who loves Hollywood, WWII literature and well written characters to fall in love with will love it too.
prem singh yadav

Mercury Pictures Presents
As that you read further into "Mercury Pictures Presents: A Novel," you'll notice that the narrative framework is a work of genius. Marra deftly navigates between past and present, flawlessly combining timeframes to create a multi-dimensional story that unfolds with delicacy. The flashbacks not only deepen the characters' backstories, but also provide deeper insights into the issues of memory and nostalgia, making the reading experience even richer.

The novel's emotional depth is unequaled, as Anthony Marra takes great care in conveying the rawness of human emotions with both empathy and authenticity. Each character's challenges, anxieties, and goals are revealed with precision, resulting in moments of genuine empathy that linger with readers long beyond the last chapter. You will find yourself walking beside these.
Nirmala rajput

Must read this...
Very interesting book, all you guys must read this book and share with your family and friends!
Mahendar hansda

About Anthony marra
It's the most interesting topic I have ever read. It is amazing.
Maxine D

This Month's Selection For My Book Club, Mixed Results
I was immediately attracted to this book for my book club because I love Movies and find the history of movie making fascinating. The response was mixed. About a third said they found it hard to read and couldn't finish it mostly because of the author going off the main characters to focus on a supporting character. Many said his writing was very good but he needed a good editor. I personally did find the development of the lesser characters enjoyable but agree that the book was hard to read. After our discussion some said that they would go back and try to finish the book. We used the questions in the readers guide for our discussion and I found the discussion on this website very helpful. I gave 4 stars as there were people who loved it and I liked it.
Gloria M

Worth Your Time
One of the most notable features of Paul Marra's latest work, "Mercury Pictures Presents" is his rare ability to fully feature his supporting characters in more interesting and vital ways.  The reader may even find that one of the bit players is their favorite.  Instead of  existing for a finite number of pages, the reader will find them returning again and again to the narrative.  This requires that attention be paid to everyone in order to fully experience this historical novel which takes place in various countries during the 1940's.

Marra writes well, with descriptive flowing passages and even the films described in the book prove fascinating.  On a more serious note, propaganda and the rewriting of history is examined within the framework of the story, providing some insightful perspectives and inspiring some trains of thought for the readers.

Who will enjoy this story?  Historical fiction fans, those who enjoy family stories and anyone who prefers literary fiction.  The discrimination experienced by both the minor and major characters is obviously relevant to the times we are living in.
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