Cintra Wilson Colors Insulting to Nature

ISBN 13: 9780007154593

Colors Insulting to Nature

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9780007154593: Colors Insulting to Nature

A hilarious and original debut novel that skewers our craze for celebrity.Liza Normal, like a million teenagers before her, wants desperately to be famous. If she can't be famous, she'll settle for infamy. But no Pop Idol contest on earth will ever crown someone like Liza, with her spookily vulgar 'vocal stylings' and her stripper's wardrobe. Her wits addled by celebrity culture, the ashes of failed stardom in her mouth, she decides to turn her back on her tinsel dreams and embrace her outsider status with a ferocious purity.Colors Insulting to Nature is a brazenly hilarious odyssey through teen humiliation: the crushes who spurn her, the revenges gone wrong, and the dawning realization that life doesn't come with a soundtrack that tells you when to laugh and cry or an audience to applaud at the end. Cintra Wilson is a pyrotechnic wit - the natural heir to Douglas Coupland and the challenger to Dave Eggers. This novel will have readers howling with laughter and writhing with retrospective embarrassment. She is a staggering talent.

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Review:

Authors who write about the entertainment industry often extend promises of wit and edginess to attract an audience. Colors Insulting to Nature, by Salon columnist Cintra Wilson, delivers these qualities because it enters the fray not with a forgettably likeable protagonist predestined for a happy ending, but with an axe to grind. The object of Wilson's loathing is the "ego-porn" Hollywood that turns out formulaic story lines, making hapless, mediocre talents believe that their dreams of fame can somehow come true.

The central mediocre talent in this book is Liza Normal, who first appears in the story as an adolescent auditioning for a spot in a commercial. Imagine the child version of the Bette Midler character in Beaches and you're about halfway to understanding the tragic gaudiness of Liza's persona--though of course she is a sweet girl underneath it all. The novel follows Liza into adulthood, bringing other vividly drawn characters, including her shut-in brother, Ned, her narcissistic, alcoholic mother, Peppy, and a sadomasochistic dwarf named DelVonn along for the ride. Liza's cringingly funny attempts to win fame as an actress-singer never stop--and neither does Wilson's railing against the logic-corrupting, "ultimately demoralizing" messages from film and television that Liza has ingested from infancy. Will our heroine ever turn her life around and figure out that The Media made her do it? Will Wilson succeed in breaking free of formulas, or end up undercutting her own message with a fairy-tale ending? Readers who are drawn to darker comedies will enjoy finding the answers, and find this novel impossible to put down. --Leah Weathersby

About the Author:

Cintra Wilson is a playwright, essayist and former columnist. Her essays on the disease of celebrity were collected into a book called A Massive Swelling and functioned as research for this novel. She lives in New York; Colors Insulting To Nature is her first novel.

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