Read Screenplay by MacDonald Harris Online


Originally published in 1982, Screenplay is a delirious, erotically charged, and wildly inventive novel that presents a writer of limitless imagination at the height of his powers. With hints of Alice in Wonderland, Screenplay follows a wealthy young dilettante named Alys, who is as out of place in the Los Angeles of the 1980s as he is on the film sets of the 1920s.  And yOriginally published in 1982, Screenplay is a delirious, erotically charged, and wildly inventive novel that presents a writer of limitless imagination at the height of his powers. With hints of Alice in Wonderland, Screenplay follows a wealthy young dilettante named Alys, who is as out of place in the Los Angeles of the 1980s as he is on the film sets of the 1920s.  And yet that is exactly where he ends up, thanks to the intervention of a film director named Nesselrode, who seems to have traveled straight from the dawn of Hollywood into the present, and who, one day, leads Alys into the catacombs of an abandoned movie theater. The pair emerges in a black-and-white fantasia—a Los Angeles on the verge of becoming itself—where silent films dominate the landscape. Alys soon finds his home in the pictures and falls in love with the seductive siren Moira Silver. But as he finds himself bewitched by old Hollywood, the present proves more and more distant, and Alys ends up lost in time, trapped between here and now.  An extraordinarily imaginative tale of faded glamour and elusive love, Screenplay is a rich and sensual novel by a master of the form. ...

Title : Screenplay
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781468308983
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 272 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Screenplay Reviews

  • Greg
    2019-02-25 04:56

    A message comes from a goodreader asking if I'd like to read any of the surplus of books that she has been winning through the goodreads first reads promotion thingy. I get a couple of books in the mail.I read one. It leads me to want to re-read another book by the same author. I do. Or at least I start to. I think Thanksgiving is a week later than it really is. I plan to re-read the book before going home. Thanksgiving happens to be a week earlier. The book is too long to finish. For my own neurotic reasons I won't take the book with me. Leaving the last third of it to wait till after the holiday.I go home. The first day there I go to a bookstore and without thinking to look for him, I see two books by an obscure author on the shelves. One of them this book. I return to the city. For the same neurotic reasons I only bring one of the eight or ten books, or however many it was that I bought that day, with me. It's this book.I get back to the city. I re-read about three-quarters of the last volume that makes up the three books in the book I'm re-reading, and then for a different but similar neurotic reason and a wholly separate neurotic reason, I put the book aside again and start to read this book.Within the pages of this one there is a character with the real name of the mysterious author at the center of the book I'm re-reading. In the same chapter this character is introduced there is a weird moment where the protagonist of this novel finds a drawer full of pictures of women cut out of magazines. All of the women have drawings on them that make them look mutilated. The other center piece that the book I'm re-reading circles around (the first being the mysterious author).Do these have any meaning? Or is it just a bunch of coincidences? Is there any proof that Roberto Bolano had ever read Macdonald Harris? And if he had that this book would have played in some way into the mythos of 2666? I can't imagine it does, and a couple of quick google searches didn't draw out connection between the two (although with the general obscurity of Macdonald Harris, this shouldn't be taken as proof of no relationship, there seemed to be a time not so long ago when this guy was nominated for big awards and all of that so he would have been in the cultural dialogue to some extent). Can I point to finding some interesting, even if tenuous, link to 2666? Can I say that even if there is no link that the unexpected and totally unplanned reading of both of these novels at the same time should be proof of some kind of underlying pattern or, say, higher power structuring the world? Or is it just a coincidence, one of thousands that happen to a person all the time, but which I only took notice of because it seemed relevant to things occupying my mind at the time? This happens to me fairly frequently in reading. All of a sudden books seem linked in various ways that I was expecting. Certain themes keep popping up when I'm not looking to read books with just that theme, certain types of allusions keep appearing, little details mesh from one work to another where there shouldn't necessarily be any collusion. Why don't I talk about the book though and not about some nonsensical relations between this book and 2666? Good idea.A few weeks ago, about a week before I chanced upon this book in my second favorite used bookstore, another Macdonald Harris book, The Balloonistwas re-issued by I think Overlook. In it there is an introduction from Philip Pullman. I haven't read the book, or the introduction. But I happened to flip through it the other day and noticed a line in the Pullman introduction, and he said something like, part of the reason Macdonald Harris never had the number of readers that he deserved was that no two novels of his were alike. Everyone of them was something new and different, and it wasn't like you knew what you were getting into when a new novel came out. I'm going to assume that he knows what he's talking about because this Screenplay isn't anything like Mortal Leap. Where Mortal Leap is an existential anti-hero sort of novel, this is, well, sort of a whimsical fantasy (at least on the surface). Kind of like an LA version of Jack Finney's From Time to Time (which I just noticed I never rated). The basic premise is that a rich young man from the late 70's/early 80's, who spends his time being a professional dilettante, through a series of events finds himself in a black and white silent film era Hollywood, circa the 1920's. Along with being a time-travelling fantasy, it is also a look at 'what is ahhhrt', reality, authenticity and other questions like that. There is quite a bit going on in the book, and if I wasn't such a lazy shit these days I'd probably be able to write at least one interesting sentence about some of the ideas in the book, but everything feels like sludge in my head lately. Instead I'll wind this up by talking more about a book that isn't being reviewed here. Macdonald Harris with his mini-cult status in thos little corner of the goodreads that I decreasingly poke my head in to, kind of reminds me of one of the central characters of 2666, the author Benno von Archimboldi. Not that Harris was a reclusive during his lifetime, but now, in 2012, his work seems to be about as obscure as Archimboldi's is at the time that the critics in part one of 2666 each stumbling upon his works in their own haphazard ways. The two authors seem to have created strange oeuvre's that defy easy categorization if only because of the uniqueness of each individual work. Unlike Archimboldi though, the reader can actually find these works and not just be frustrated with the tantalizing descriptions given of fictional novels in the pages of a novel.

  • Amanda
    2019-02-20 04:09

    I think I finished this one? I forgot to update Goodreads for a long time, so apparently this wasn't terribly memorable if I did finish it.

  • Jadine
    2019-02-28 00:01

    Free book on Goodreads. Advanced reader's copy. I don't understand why this is an advanced readers copy when the book was originally published years ago. I also don't understand how some of the names could have been misspelled at times. (specifically Hellington instead of Bellington twice in the same paragraph) I didn't really enjoy this book, I was a little confused. I guess if I look broadly at it I can see the Alice in Wonderland theme.

  • Ashley
    2019-03-13 03:52

    I received a copy of this novel through the Goodreads: First Reads giveaway. (It is an paperback advanced readers copy)I'm not sure what I expected when I started this except that it would most like feel dated, having been originally published in 1982, a few years before I even existed but that wasn't really the case as it had a throwback feel to it due to the 1920s pictures angle and the fact that even time doesn't change base human actions.The story was a bit slow to me as it seemed as if there was no point, just a meandering story that almost read as it the author had no idea where the plot was heading. The rich seem not to have changed from then to now and Alys' story doesn't really start, for me, til after that first trip to the other side of the Screen. I wasn't expecting there to be as big of a love story as there was, but it was quite central to the main arc of the novel.Harris wrote well & intelligently even if times, he was too detailed and seemed to have lost the main point but after finishing the book, I feel that those needless details were needed as they explain how Alys was before, & after, his trips to his old Hollywood wonderland.I can see the sly similarities between "Screenplay" & "Alice in Wonderland" but it was not the overt covering of a classic as I had expected.Slow for me, but overall a nicely done novel that wasn't a complete waste of time.

  • John
    2019-03-14 01:58

    The attractive reprints of MacDonald Harris’ novels from Galileo Publishers continue to be highly welcome. First published in 1983, Screenplay is the story of Alys and his encounters with Art and Life. Orphaned as a teenager, rich, he leads a self-indulgent life as a dilettante student and film connoisseur. One day an old man turns up on Alys’ doorstep and demands to rent a room in his large and secluded house. This is the mysterious Julius Nesselrode, who claims to have been a film director and producer, and offers to get Alys ‘into pictures’. What Nesselrode has not told his young landlord is that the movies would be silent ones made during the 1920s. Alys soon finds himself travelling between contemporary Los Angeles and the small, clean, sharply defined fictive black and white city of the old movies. He and leading lady Moira Silver fall in love, and they soon have to choose which world they wish to live in: ‘reality’ or its seductive movie version. As well as being a wry character study and offering incisive evocations of Los Angeles, Screenplay also poses, in a deceptively relaxed way, some important questions. What is real, and what counts and will survive? Art is long, but artificial. And whether the answer comes as revelation or confirmation, only real Life can be – real.

  • Becca
    2019-02-27 01:18

    I received this book as a goodreads giveaway, and decided to give a short review. Wow! I ended up reading this in one sitting Sunday evening. What a mysterious, surreal story! I was really not sure where it was going to go; the beginning was kind of strange. Then again, Alys is kind of strange, as was his upbringing. But this never prepared me for the odd Mr. Nesselrode and his magical curtain in an old abandoned theater. The filming scenes reminded me of times when I used to watch old black & white movies with my great-aunt "Honey" as a young teenager, and left a fond smile for those memories. The way the fantastical events twist and turn, modern items are transposed into film props from another time and place, and the characters elude your full grasp of what's going on was just magical! I don't like to give away spoilers when reviewing, and don't feel the need to write a Cliff Notes version of the book. What I will say, is that if you are looking for a story that will suck you in, a sort of "film noir" romance in print, and a surreal story of what one will follow for love, pick this up!

  • Cindy Richard
    2019-03-04 02:59

    This story is like an adult version of ALICE IN WONDERLAND, and you quickly get the allusions to the original story (the protagonist is a male named Alys, and there is another major character named Nesselrode who clearly acts like a rabbit). I admired Harris's ability to completely transport me to the film sets of the 1920s; I actually felt like I was there and I could clearly visualize the scenes being acted out. I loved the fact that I never quite knew what was going to happen next - a fact that I found delightful because so many stories are predictable these days. I just finished reading this one, so I am still processing it - I may add more once I have time to reflect upon it more In the meantime, I definitely recommend this book if you like original and slightly quirky stories.

  • Jon
    2019-02-22 01:59

    Fascinating fantasy novel about a trust-fund-brat orphan who travels back in time to become a silent-film actor. The sort of novel I would normally think of as "not my sort of thing"...but I loved it. (I haven't been able to get through any of Harris's other fiction I've tried, which is also in various non-realistic modes.) Under his real name, Donald Heiney, Harris wrote 3 ITALIAN NOVELISTS, a study of Pavese, Moravia, and Vittorini. I only read the section about Pavese since he's the only one of the 3 I've read, I disagree with Heiney's assessment of him, he overrated MOON & THE BONFIRES and underrated some of Pavese's other work, I thought. SCREENPLAY, though, is worthy of the overused adjective "magical."

  • Rhonda Gilmour
    2019-02-19 00:00

    I enjoyed this novel tremendously. I guess it's best characterized as magical realism, since there are elements of time travel. An aimless, feckless, wealthy young man takes in an eccentric boarder who seems to be connected to the earliest days of the Hollywood film industry. Together, they travel back in time/space to the world of silent films, a world that appears in black and white. Harris maintains mystery and suspense throughout the story, and sprinkles it well with surprise. A quick and juicy read.

  • Andrea
    2019-02-28 06:59

    Didn't finish it. Intellectually it's interesting, but when I'm halfway through a book and I notice that I don't care what happens to the characters, I'm going to put it aside. As I did in this case. Someone who's not as invested in character development might enjoy it, especially the parts about creating silent films in the early years of the twentieth century.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-02-17 04:01

    *Goodreads First Reads Book**It took me about five days to finish this book. It rarely takes me that long to get through a book, especially one this short, but this book was just so slow moving and drawn out. There was nothing within the story that made me want to keep reading, only the short length of the novel kept me going.

  • Tammy
    2019-03-01 02:18

    Took me forever to read this book. It was quid strange reading. It was like reading a adult version of Alice in Wonderland,which to me always seemed to me tone written by somebody doing drugs. Just out there stories and charactetrs

  • Phair
    2019-02-18 02:03

    Weird and not really what I expected. The parts set in old Hollywood of the 20s were slightly interesting but I never felt involved in the story or characters. It was something of a chore to finish this.

  • Kim
    2019-03-18 23:04

    Won this in the first reads giveaway. beautifully written, capture my interest from the very beginning. The ending surprised me, but really enjoyed it. Read the book in a couple hours.

  • MickPro
    2019-03-16 05:16

    Inventive, good period piece, time travel, good characters, what's not to like.