Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Acclaimed author Valerie Martin returns with a dark comedy about love, sex, an actor's ambition, and the perils of playing a role too well. In this fictional memoir, Valerie Martin brilliantly re-creates the seamy theater world of s New York, when rents were cheap, love was free, and nudity on stage was the latest craze.
THE CONFESSIONS OF EDWARD DAY by Valerie Martin | Kirkus Reviews
Edward Day, a talented and ambitious young actor Acclaimed author Valerie Martin returns with a dark comedy about love, sex, an actor's ambition, and the perils of playing a role too well. Edward Day, a talented and ambitious young actor finds his life forever altered during a weekend party on the Jersey Shore, where he seduces the delicious Madeleine Delavergne and is saved from drowning by the mysterious Guy Margate, a man who bears an eerie physical resemblance to Edward.
Forever after, Edward is torn between his desire for Madeleine and his indebtedness to Guy, his rival in love and in art, on stage and off. Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages.
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Published August 11th by Nan A. Talese first published January 1st More Details Original Title. New York State United States. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Confessions of Edward Day , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about The Confessions of Edward Day. Lists with This Book.
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Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of The Confessions of Edward Day. Dec 17, Deborah Edwards rated it really liked it. Yes, it utilizes the theater and its players to effectively explore its themes, and in doing so says quite a bit about the world of people who pretend to be other people for a living, but at its core, this is a book about the psychology of the individual and the processes at work that shape us into the human beings we become.
In the very first sentence of this novel, Valerie Martin has a character make a statement about Freudian psychology. Is it just a coincidence that the novel starts off with a statement about Freudian psychology? Even Freud would tell you "there are no accidents" in life, and Valerie Martin knows this only too well. Her main character, Edward Day, however, is about to find out with unique clarity that there are no accidents in life — after he has a life-altering and self-defining…er…accident.
Guy has some unusual distinguishing characteristics, not the least of which being that he looks almost identical to Edward Day. He may be a bit darker in his features, a bit more raw and wild-looking, but the two could be mistaken for each other, their resemblance being so uncanny.
Edward was the favorite son of a sometimes-distant mother. No one knows his mother tried to call him, and he never tells his father or brothers about it. He merely represses the experience, pushes it down and proceeds to look for approval in every woman he meets from that point on. Can you say Oedipal complex? As the story progresses, the reader is called upon to witness hook-ups and betrayals, tragedies and lies, successes and failures. There are important moments when characters in the story are called upon to make sacrifices, face difficult truths, accept or negate their own actions.
When Madeline goes through some serious life issues, however, we discover that Guy is the one who decides to help her through it, even though Edward believes he is the only one Madeleine truly loves. Edward, often the catalyst for these issues, continually removes himself from the situations, rationalizes that things turn out the way they are meant to turn out, and goes about his business, pursuing his ambitions and his life in the theater.
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Guy, on the other hand, stays and does the dirty work of real life, sacrificing his incipient career, and attempting to appeal to Edward through the use of guilt and entitlement for having saved his life all those years ago. Tactics that do not, of course, work on the increasingly narcissistic Edward. All three of our main characters are actors, and all three bring different strengths, failings, and emotions to the stage and to their own lives.
Is Edward an actual complete human being or just the desires and conflicts of his own id? So, which is she, we may ask ourselves? When she is with Guy, they seem to have a loving marriage and a deep bond, and yet whenever Edward intermittently shows up from the road, full of his own needs and concerns, Madeleine always wraps her arms around him and opens herself to his sexual advances. We learn things about her marriage that could paint her as a long-suffering saint — or alternately, a lying little minx, and our question can only inevitably be determined by us.
Edward, as an actor, is likewise defined by a series of important roles. She is a dazzling and protective mother figure and, although she significantly helps him in his career and in his depth of emotional range, he is never able to get her into bed. Are we seeing a pattern here?
Much is made of the Stanislavski process of method acting. Some of the greatest acting teachers in theater history are mentioned in the book as being the teachers for our main characters. Mining the sense memories we carry with us is a dangerous business. We are told that Guy never uses sense memory — all of his performances are the result of talented mimicry.
He does not choose to lose himself, his true self, in a performance. Madeleine, we are told, is too emotionally involved in her characters, her fragile nature often conflicted and made sick by them. Edward, on the other hand, begins as an inauthentic actor and later learns to mine the world of his own history for truth in his performance, but to what end?
Is his own guilt bound up in the way he takes advantage of his past? Martin, however, seems to believe that the parts we choose to play define us, and the themes we choose to explore are not accidental. Obviously, the plays and roles chosen in this novel mirror the lives of the characters we meet.
The depths of the emotions they need to fathom in order to bring authenticity to their roles are sometimes so fraught with their own histories and insecurities, that the parts they must play nearly overtake them, and in the end, threaten to ruin them altogether. View all 4 comments. Aug 26, Dave rated it it was amazing. Valerie Martin has an unequaled ability to capture the essence of a character and build a page-turning story around it. I was sucked into Edward Day's life as if by an industrial vacuum cleaner, fascinated by his persona and the events that shaped it.
As the story progresses, a peculiar tension builds around Edward Day. It is a struggle not between good and evil or anything nearly as mundane as good guys versus bad guys, but rather a growing realization that he may be the villain of h Valerie Martin has an unequaled ability to capture the essence of a character and build a page-turning story around it. It is a struggle not between good and evil or anything nearly as mundane as good guys versus bad guys, but rather a growing realization that he may be the villain of his own memoir. I don't believe I have experienced a character such as that since reading Crime and Punishment.
This book epitomizes the writer's dictum to "don't tell--show", which serves the theme perfectly.
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Edward tells his own story, commenting on the actions, appearances, and attitudes of every other character in the piece in ways that ultimately reveal more about him than about them. It's a powerful technique that Martin has clearly mastered. The business of acting in live theater makes a wonderful background for the story. Edward Day is a consummate actor, which also happens to make him the perfect protagonist for this excellent dark novel.
Mar 27, Lindsey Gates-Markel rated it it was ok Shelves: grad-school , read-in My grad school adviser recommended this book to me after reading a short story I wrote about community theatre actors. I liked the story itself, but I found basically all of the characters at basically every moment to be as insufferable as the most insufferable "theatre kids"--painfully self-absorbed and filled with a strangling sense of self-importance. Side note: I can't retain the title of this book for the life of me.
I've had to Google the name every single time I've wanted to mention it to My grad school adviser recommended this book to me after reading a short story I wrote about community theatre actors. I've had to Google the name every single time I've wanted to mention it to anyone including the week or so when I was in the middle of reading it.
That just can't be a good sign, right? View 1 comment. Jan 03, Steve rated it did not like it. What a piece of trash. As an actor, I was excited by the idea of this book, hoping to glean some insight into what it was like to be a professional actor in NY in the '70s.
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But while that's how this book is marketed, instead it has one of the most ridiculous, soap opera-ish plots I've ever read. Apparently Ms. Martin thinks that dropping names like Pinter, Meisner and Adler somehow legitimizes the book as being about acting. But the lead character is much more interested in where to stick his me What a piece of trash.
But the lead character is much more interested in where to stick his member next rather than how to prepare for a role. I sincerely wish I could have the time back that I spent reading this drivel.