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Father of Frankenstein

de Christopher Bram

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392749,601 (3.97)5
"James Whale, the elegant director of such classic horror films as Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein, was found at his Los Angeles mansion in 1957, dead of unnatural causes. Christopher Bram, whose social insight and wit have earned him comparisons to Henry James and Gore Vidal, explores the mystery of Whale's last days in this evocative and suspenseful work of fiction." "Home from the hospital after a minor stroke, Whale becomes convinced that his time is nearly over. Increasingly confused and disoriented, he is overwhelmed by images from the past: his working-class childhood in Britain, lavish Hollywood premieres in the 1930s attended with a nervous lover, meeting Garbo, parties with Elsa Manchester, Charles Laughton, and Elizabeth Taylor, nightmares from his own movies. Handsome ex-marine Clayton Boone, an angry loner who is Whale's gardener, becomes the focus of a fantastic plot Whale devises to provide his life with the dramatic ending it deserves." "Bram juxtaposes the worlds of two very different men, James Whale and Clayton Boone, deftly shifting between the complex mind of an English exile full of experience and sardonic humor, and that of an American whose attitude toward Whale moves from disgust to fascination to a final shock of disbelief." "Suggesting influences as diverse as Sunset Boulevard and the works of Christopher Isherwood, Father of Frankenstein is a rich yet cutting look at fame, mortality, and hidden desire. Often praised for his singular take on history, culture, and sex, Bram has surpassed himself with this ingenious new novel."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 7 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Loved the GODS AND MONSTERS movie and since a copy of this came across my desk in 1st edition hardcover, I couldn't pass it up at used book prices. We'll see how it holds up to the movie (and vice-versa). The author's repertoire looks interesting and based on this book, I may follow up with more.

SES ( )
  SESchend | Sep 6, 2017 |
Originally titled "Father of Frankenstein" and subsequently changed to "Gods and Monsters" to match the movie version, this novel is a subtly charming rendition of the last two weeks of the life of James Whale, director of horror flicks Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein (as well as many others). At this point in his life, Whale has just recovered (somewhat) from a stroke and is living alone in his mansion. After making the acquaintance of his young, butch, former Marine yardman Clayton, Whale sets in motion a hare-brained scheme to end his own life.

What gives the novel texture are the nuanced portraits of the unsophisticated but ultimately soft-hearted Clayton (who is encountering a professed homosexual for the first time in his life -- that he knows of) and Whale, who is haunted by his working class origins in England as well as by his haunting experiences in the Great War. In particular, Whale's mix of the maudlin, queeny repartee, and a drole and dismal gallows humor drive the narration.

Bram's prose is workmanlike and simple, but the portraits are nuanced and there is a sprinkle of Hollywood glitz over the whole. Bram's amusingly self-deprecating Afterword (written after the film version's release) is a humorous counterpoint to the novel's inevitable end. ( )
  Bostonseanachie | Dec 14, 2016 |
"When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." -- from "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance"

Very well done, Mr Bram. ( )
  gunsofbrixton | Mar 31, 2013 |
Each of the lead characters in this book had distinctive voices, and interesting personalities and backstories. I liked the developing friendship between two unlikely characters. This was a novel about depression, sexual identity, and prejudice. The narrative was well written, the dialog was excellent, and I thought the premise was intriguing. Worth reading. ( )
  HotWolfie | Nov 25, 2011 |
This novel--the basis for the critically acclaimed 1998 film Gods and Monsters--re-creates the last days of film director James Whale, who was found dead in his swimming pool, an apparent suicide, in 1957. Bram offers sharp insights into the darkly comic sensibility that infuses Whale's two most famous films, Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein, as memories of an impoverished English childhood, the trenches of World War I, and Hollywood studios compete for space in a mind whose defenses have been weakened by a stroke. Written in the fluid present tense of a cinematic treatment, Father of Frankenstein is a powerful evocation of an era before Hollywood celebrities could proclaim anything but domestic heterosexuality to the outside world.
  QAHC_CCCL | Aug 18, 2009 |
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"James Whale, the elegant director of such classic horror films as Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein, was found at his Los Angeles mansion in 1957, dead of unnatural causes. Christopher Bram, whose social insight and wit have earned him comparisons to Henry James and Gore Vidal, explores the mystery of Whale's last days in this evocative and suspenseful work of fiction." "Home from the hospital after a minor stroke, Whale becomes convinced that his time is nearly over. Increasingly confused and disoriented, he is overwhelmed by images from the past: his working-class childhood in Britain, lavish Hollywood premieres in the 1930s attended with a nervous lover, meeting Garbo, parties with Elsa Manchester, Charles Laughton, and Elizabeth Taylor, nightmares from his own movies. Handsome ex-marine Clayton Boone, an angry loner who is Whale's gardener, becomes the focus of a fantastic plot Whale devises to provide his life with the dramatic ending it deserves." "Bram juxtaposes the worlds of two very different men, James Whale and Clayton Boone, deftly shifting between the complex mind of an English exile full of experience and sardonic humor, and that of an American whose attitude toward Whale moves from disgust to fascination to a final shock of disbelief." "Suggesting influences as diverse as Sunset Boulevard and the works of Christopher Isherwood, Father of Frankenstein is a rich yet cutting look at fame, mortality, and hidden desire. Often praised for his singular take on history, culture, and sex, Bram has surpassed himself with this ingenious new novel."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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