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New York : Doubleday, 2010.
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Hazie Coogan, who for decades has tended to the outsized needs of veteran actress Katherine "Miss Kathie" Kenton, discovers that bounder Webster Carlton Westward III has written a celebrity tell-all memoir foretelling Miss Kathie's death in a forthcoming Lillian Hellman-penned musical extravaganza. As the body count mounts, Hazie must execute a plan to save Katherine Kenton for her fans--and for posterity.


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The hyperactive love child of Page Six and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? caught in a tawdry love triangle with The Fan . Even Kitty Kelly will blush.

Soaked, nay, marinated in the world of vintage Hollywood, Tell-All is a Sunset Boulevard -inflected homage to Old Hollywood when Bette Davis and Joan Crawford ruled the roost; a veritable Tourette's syndrome of rat-tat-tatnbsp; name-dropping, from the A-list to the Z-list; and a mercilessnbsp; send-up of Lillian Hellman 's habit of butchering the truth that will have Mary McCarthy cheering from the beyond.

Our Thelma Ritter -ish narrator is Hazie Coogan , who for decades has tended to the outsized needs of Katherine "Miss Kathie"nbsp; Kenton --veteran of multiple marriages, career comebacks, and cosmetic surgeries. But danger arrives with gentleman caller Webster Carlton Westward III , who worms his way into Miss Kathie's heart (and boudoir). Hazie discovers that this bounder has already written a celebrity tell-all memoir foretelling Miss Kathie's death in a forthcoming Lillian Hellman -penned musical extravaganza; as the body count mounts, Hazie must execute a plan to save Katherine Kenton for her fans--and for posterity.

Tell-All is funny, subversive, and fascinatingly clever. It's wild, it's wicked, it'snbsp; bold-faced--it's vintage Chuck .

Reseñas 5

Reseña de Publisher's Weekly

Palahniuk channels old Hollywood in this homage to Billy Wilder's classic film Sunset Boulevard. Mazie Coogan tends to the needs of Katherine Kenton, a washed-up film star who still believes she lives in the spotlight. When a stranger enters their lives and seduces Miss Kathie, Mazie unravels his secret plot to write a memoir about his dalliance with the star that culminates in Miss Kathie's death. Hilary Huber's pitch and pronunciation are inspired by the great actresses of the 1930s and '40s. Her arch voice recalls the smoky tones of cigarette tapping screen stars, and her raspy narration is chilling. A Doubleday hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 22). (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Reseña de Booklist

At his best, Palahniuk punctures our collective psyches with sharp darts of satire, subversion, and surprise. Fight Club (1996) created a mythology from the inner lives of alienated Gen X-ers, and Pygmy (2009) daringly tweaked fears of terrorism and school shootings, heedless of our jangled nerves. In an era of panic about pandemics, Rant (2007) likened celebrity to a plague. Tell-All retreats to the world of golden-age Hollywood, telling the tale of Katherine Kenton, aging star of stage and screen, and Hazie Coogan, Kenton's maid, companion, confidante and unlikely star-maker. Written in a style meant to evoke the boldface breathlessness of celebrity scandal sheets, Tell-All chronicles Kenton's love affair with the inappropriately young Webster Carlton Westward III, a possible gold-digger, and Coogan's increasingly desperate attempts to manage her mistress' life. To be sure, Palahniuk stages some stunning scenes and pens some bawdily hilarious lines. But, unfortunately, other than noting stardom's fleeting fame, he doesn't find much new to say. Readers with long memories will be struck by the way some of the set pieces resemble the scathing satire of a young William S. Burroughs. But Naked Lunch was published in 1959 it's a little late to be dining out on similar fare. Then again, if Lillian Hellman strikes you as a worthy target, then this might be just the meal you're looking for.--Graff, Keir Copyright 2010 Booklist

Guardian Review

Tell-All gives us the sinister interplay between an over-the-hill, overweight and much-married Hollywood diva and her seething, oppressed housekeeper, conducted in terms of the master-slave dialectic familiar from Hegel and innumerable Bette Davis movies. Intercut with this main story is a grotesquely self-aggrandising screenplay, purportedly by Lillian Hellman, presumably to bludgeon home the point that celebrity memoirs sometimes play fast and loose with the truth. Oh, and celebrity culture is often commerce-driven and self-referential - you can tell this is so because Palahniuk puts all references to famous people and brand names in bold typeface. His trademark bad taste is here in abundance; the problem is its lack of purpose. And much of the writing is execrable: in the star's boudoir, "Everything - Chris Ross Tell-All gives us the sinister interplay between an over-the-hill, overweight and much-married Hollywood diva and her seething, oppressed housekeeper, conducted in terms of the master-slave dialectic familiar from Hegel and innumerable Bette Davis movies. - Chris Ross.

Kirkus Review

Beneath the glamour of Hollywood lies an ineffable sadness, a commonplace notion that this occasionally amusing novel both belabors and mocks. As the cult master of high-concept fictional subversion, the prolific Palahniuk (Pygmy, 2009, etc.) has his typical fun here, though the thinness of character and lack of narrative momentum that are part of the plan might try the reader's patience. Within "this silly motion picture we call human history," the tarnished heroine is aging Katherine "Miss Kathie" Kenton, whose riveting violet eyes and multiple marriages might tempt some to recall Elizabeth Taylor. The narrator is Hazie Coogan, who tells the story in terms of acts and scenes, with flashbacks and voice-overs. And who is Hazie? Not exactly a housekeeper or personal assistant to Miss Kathie. Perhaps a confidante or nursemaid. Certainly the second banana. "I was Thelma Ritter before Thelma Ritter was Thelma Ritter," she writes, or rather Palahniuk writes, only in the novel each reference to Thelma Ritter is in boldface. As is every other proper name, most of them recognizable ("Lilly" Hellman, Coco Chanel, Ronald Reagan), and product name. Both the novel's title and the boldface recall the golden age of the gossip columnist, with the author having great sport with the wordplay that once filled the columns of Walter Winchell, Hedda Hopper and the like. Every ex-husband, of whom Miss Kathie has many, is a "was-band," while a book about such a star might be a "bile-ography." As a younger Lothario vies to become the next Mr. Kathie, he is writing a memoir that will be far more marketable after her death. Or is he? Among the meta-fictional challenges the reader must confront within this narrative within a narrative within a narrative is what kind of book is Hazie writing (and we are reading). Meanwhile, the wordplay amuses. Those who aren't sure what they're in for with Palahniuk won't want to start here. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Library Journal Review

As housekeeper and confidante to has-been movie star Katherine Kenton, Hazie Coogan tends to her employer's every wish and need. So when a tell-all memoir about the aging actress threatens to surface, she goes to extremes to prevent it from seeing the light of day. Though the plot of New York Times best-selling author Palahniuk's ( latest novel is rather bizarre and unsatisfying, Hillary Huber (The Art of Social War), a relative newbie in the audiobook narrating industry, does a superb job of voicing the Thelma Ritter-esque housekeeper and lending a vintage Hollywood feel to this audio production. Die-hard Palahniuk fans and those with a penchant for old-time Hollywood references will likely want to give this a chance. Others will find it tedious, needlessly redundant, and annoying-certainly, it's no The Fight Club.-Gloria Maxwell, Metropolitan Community Coll.-Penn Valley Lib., Kansas City, MO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



ACT I, SCENE ONE Act one, scene one opens with Lillian Hellman clawing her way, stumbling and scrambling, through the thorny nighttime underbrush of some German schwarzwald , a Jewish baby clamped to each of her tits, another brood of infants clinging to her back. Lilly clambers her way, struggling against the brambles that snag the gold embroidery of her Balenciaga lounging pajamas, the black velvet clutched by hordes of doomed cherubs she's racing to deliver from the ovens of some Nazi death camp. More innocent toddlers, lashed to each of Lillian's muscular thighs. Helpless Jewish, Gypsy and homosexual babies. Nazi gestapo bullets spit past her in the darkness, shredding the forest foliage, the smell of gunpowder and pine needles. The heady aroma of her Chanel No. 5 . Bullets and hand grenades just whiz past Miss Hellman's perfectly coiffed Hattie Carnegie chignon, so close the ammunition shatters her Cartier chandelier earrings into rainbow explosions of priceless diamonds. Ruby and emerald shrapnel blasts into the flawless skin of her perfect, pale cheeks. . . . From this action sequence, we dissolve to: Reveal: the interior of a stately Sutton Place mansion. It's some Billie Burke place decorated by Billy Haines , where formally dressed guests line a long table within a candlelit, wood-paneled dining room. Liveried footmen stand along the walls. Miss Hellman is seated near the head of this very large dinner party, actually describing the frantic escape scene we've just witnessed. In a slow panning shot, the engraved place cards denoting each guest read like a veritable Who's Who . Easily half of twentieth-century history sits at this table: Prince Nicholas of Romania , Pablo Picasso , Cordell Hull and Josef von Sternberg . The attendant celebrities seem to stretch from Samuel Beckett to Gene Autry to Marjorie Main to the faraway horizon. Lillian stops speaking long enough to draw one long drag on her cigarette. Then to blow the smoke over Pola Negri and Adolph Zukor before she says, "It's at that heart-stopping moment I wished I'd just told Franklin Delano Roosevelt , 'No, thank you.' " Lilly taps cigarette ash onto her bread plate, shaking her head, saying, "No secret missions for this girl." While the footmen pour wine and clear the sorbet dishes, Lillian's hands swim through the air, her cigarette trailing smoke, her fingernails clawing at invisible forest vines, climbing sheer rock cliff faces, her high heels blazing a muddy trail toward freedom, her strength never yielding under the burden of those tiny Jewish and homosexual urchins. Every eye, fixed, from the head of the table to the foot, stares at Lilly. Every hand crosses two fingers beneath the damask napkin laid in every lap, while every guest mouths a silent prayer that Miss Hellman will swallow her Chicken Prince Anatole Demidoff without chewing, then suffocate, writhing and choking on the dining room carpet. Almost every eye. The exceptions being one pair of violet eyes . . . one pair of brown eyes . . . and of course my own weary eyes. The possibility of dying before Lillian Hellman has become the tangible fear of this entire generation. Dying and becoming merely fodder for Lilly's mouth. A person's entire life and reputation reduced to some golem , a Frankenstein 's monster Miss Hellman can reanimate and manipulate to do her bidding. Beyond her first few words, Lillian's talk becomes one of those jungle sound tracks one hears looping in the background of every Tarzan film, just tropical birds and Johnny Weissmuller and howler monkeys repeating. Bark, bark, screech . . . Emerald Cunard . Bark, growl, screech . . . Cecil Beaton . Lilly's drivel possibly constitutes some bizarre form of name-dropping Tourette's syndrome . Or perhaps the outcome of an orphaned press agent raised by wolves and taught to read aloud from Walter Winchell 's column. Her compulsive prattle, a true pathology. Cluck, oink, bark . . . Jean Negulesco . Thus, Lilly spins the twenty-four-carat gold of people's actual lives into her own brassy straw. Please promise you did NOT hear this from me. Seated within range of those flying heroic elbows, my Miss Kathie stares out from the bank of cigarette smoke. An actress of Katherine Kenton 's stature. Her violet eyes, trained throughout her adult life to never make contact with anything except the lens of a motion picture camera. To never meet the eyes of a stranger, instead to always focus on someone's earlobe or lips. Despite such training, my Miss Kathie peers down the length of the table, her lashes fluttering. The slender fingers of one famous white hand toy with the auburn tresses of her wig. The jeweled fingers of Miss Kathie's opposite hand touch the six strands of pearls which contain the loose folds of her sagging neck skin. In the next instant, while the footmen pass the finger bowls, Lillian twists in her chair, shouldering an invisible sniper's  rifle and squeezing off rounds until the clip is empty. Still just dripping with Hebrew and Communist babies. Lugging her cargo of Semitic orphans. When the rifle is too searing hot to hold, Miss Hellman howls a wild war whoop and hurtles the steaming weapon at the pursuing storm troopers. Snarl, bark, screech . . . Peter Lorre . Oink, bark, squeal . . . Averell Harriman . It's a fate worse than death to spend eternity in harness, serving as Lilly Hellman's zombie, brought back to life at dinner parties. On radio talk programs. At this point, Miss Hellman is heaving yet another batch of invisible babies, rescued Gypsy babes, high, toward the chandelier, as if catapulting them over the snowcapped peak of the Matterhorn to the safety of Switzerland . Grunt, howl, squeal . . . Sarah Bernhardt . By now, Lillian Hellman wraps two fists around the invisible throat of Adolf Hitler , reenacting how she sneaked into his subterranean Berlin bunker, dressed as Leni Riefenstahl , her arms laden with black-market cartons of Lucky Strike and Parliament cigarettes, and then throttled the sleeping dictator in his bed. Bray, bark, whinny . . . Basil Rathbone. Lilly throws the terrified, make-believe Hitler into the center of tonight's dinner table, her teeth biting, her manicured fingernails scratching at his Nazi eyes. Lillian's fists clamped around the invisible windpipe, she begins pounding the invisible Führer's skull against the tablecloth, making the silverware and wineglasses jump and rattle. Screech, meow, tweet . . . Wallis Simpson . Howl, bray, squeak . . . Diana Vreeland . A moment before Hitler's assassination, George Cukor looks up, his fingertips still dripping chilled water into his finger bowl, that smell of fresh-sliced lemons, and George says, "Please, Lillian." Poor George says, "Would you please stuff it." Seated well below the salt, below the various professional hangers-on, the walking men, the drug dealers, the mesmerists, the exiled White Russians and poor Lorenz Hart , really at the very horizon of tonight's dinner table, a young man looks back. Seated on the farthest frontier of placement. His eyes the bright brown of July Fourth sunlight through a tall mug of root beer. Quite the American specimen. A classic face of such symmetrical proportions, the exactly balanced type of face one dreams of looking down to find smiling and eager between one's inner thighs. Still, that's the trouble with only a single glance at any star on the horizon. As Elsa Maxwell would say, "One can never tell for certain if that dazzling, shiny object is rising or setting." Lillian inhales the silence through her burning cigarette. Taps the gray ash onto her bread plate. In a blast of smoke, she says, "Did you hear?" She says, "It's a fact, but Eleanor Roosevelt chewed every hair off my bush. . . ." Through all of this--the cigarette smoke and lies and the Second World War --the specimen's bright brown eyes, they're looking straight down the table, up the social ladder, gazing back, deep, into the famous, fluttering violet eyes of my employer. From the Paperback edition. Excerpted from Tell-All by Chuck Palahniuk All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.