Sunday, April 10, 2005

"Selling things that nobody buys anymore"

That's what Mirabelle does, working in the glove department of Neiman's.

I've always found Steve Martin the comedian to be very funny, and Steve Martin the talk show guest personable, by turns clever and silly. Steve Martin the writer is elegant. Having thoroughly enjoyed The Pleasure of My Company last summer, I was delighted to find Martin's first novella, Shopgirl, among the bargain stacks on my recent book-hunting expedition.

My like for Martin's writing is surely increased by the silver white narration I hear in my head — it sounds wise, even when goofy.

The story is simple. The characters are complicated.

"Ray Porter imagines an entirely different iceberg beneath Mirabelle's psychic waterline than the one that actually exists."

They are in so many ways typical, but unique, and therefore real. Their relationships and the motivations behind them remain a mystery to themselves, but Martin sheds light with humour and bite.

"If Immanuel Kant had stumbled across this luncheon after his noon Beverly Hills shrink appointment, he would have quickly discerned that Lisa is all phenomena and no noumena, and that Mirabelle is all noumena and no phenomena."

The ending was neither predictable and trite nor outrageous. It was perfect.

Reviews:
Flak Magazine
Powell's Books
Chicklit (with which I disagree vehemently)

Movie info.
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