Make-Believe Town brings together David Mamet's acute insights into everyday life, the arts, and politics. These pieces evidence Mamet's love of language, particularly the introductory essay, "Eight Kings," which celebrates the private languages of carpenters, carnival workers, and all crafts and trades, and "The Northern Novel," which propounds ...
Make-Believe Town brings together David Mamet's acute insights into everyday life, the arts, and politics. These pieces evidence Mamet's love of language, particularly the introductory essay, "Eight Kings," which celebrates the private languages of carpenters, carnival workers, and all crafts and trades, and "The Northern Novel," which propounds Mamet's affection for the line of American fiction exemplified by Willa Cather and Theodore Dreiser. Some of the essays are prose portraits from Mamet's life: "Deer Hunting" and "The Diner" delineate worlds far from the public eye. Make-Believe Town also contains beautifully written recollections of Mamet's early days as a writer ("Girl Copy"), his start in the theater ("Memories of Off Broadway"), his education as a gambler ("Gems From a Gambler's Bookshelf"), and bygone days on Broadway ("Delsomma's"). Mamet's incisive thoughts about public issues - support for the arts, nudity in films, the roles given Jewish characters, even the posthumous rehabilitation of Richard Nixon - round out a far-reaching collection.
Publishers Weekly, 1996-04-08 The 24 brief essays, several published previously, in this collection share no overarching theme, but the playwright's fans can find evidence of his interests and obsessions. His purist love for drama is evinced in an homage to director Greg Mosher, a memoir of his youth immersed in off Broadway and his scorn for the decline of screenwriting into the predictable. Mamet displays his strong Jewish identity when lamenting the "psychic assimilation" that Jewish audiences and actors undergo and urging self-defense, rather than reason, in response to contemporary anti-Semitism. Playing poker has taught this old gambler lessons ("Trust everyone, but cut the cards"), but so has New Hampshire deer hunting. His take on the sexes veers between a wry memoir of writing captions for pornography and a gnomic meditation on sex and partnership. Most of these pieces evaporate rather quickly and a few sound self-important, but Mamet's writing remains spare and lucid. (June)
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