Innocents and Others - WikipediaThe literature of friendship, like friendship itself, tends to unfold episodically — with none of the narrative determination of the Marriage Plot, in which young women accrue interest like a mutual fund until they mature into the expected climax: not orgasm but matrimony. There is no such thing as the Friendship Plot, because while friendship, like marriage, is at least presumably a voluntary estate, it has no official consummation, no church- or state-sanctioned vows. Dana Spiotta has now spent four novels proposing and revising her own definitions of friendship. They go east together to study film at N. Its subject is an overweight telemarketer from Syracuse named Amy who sometimes refers to herself as Nicole and sometimes as Jelly; she has a blind boyfriend named Oz as in the Great , a Rolodex of the phone numbers of peripheral Hollywood types filched from a friend who cleans their homes and, most saliently, a telephone addiction. Jelly, already an expert on the varieties of male vanity, takes to studying Variety and ringing up sundry screenwriters and set- and costume-designers, apologizing for misdialing them, but then claiming mutual acquaintance. The prank nature of her importuning is softened by the ego-stroke, and soon Jelly becomes their muse, their long-distance telephonamorata:.
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What do we make of a title such as Innocents and Others? We assume this is Orson Welles. The young girl is Meadow Mori, a glamorous, precocious teenager who becomes friends with a more ordinary classmate called Carrie Wexler. Part of Innocents and Others is about the progression of friendship between these two, and the shared love of cinema that means they will end up making films themselves. Meadow creates rigorous, reflexive and psychologically terrifying documentaries rooted in her own experience; and Carrie shoots chickflick blockbusters with a feminist twist that make her a fortune yet leave her feeling needy. Spiotta seems to be saying, how could we possibly see it all? How can we depict life, truth, in a novel?
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Meadow is the dominant partner in the friendship: smarter, prettier and more artistically switched on. She earns critical acclaim making intellectually worthy documentaries; Carrie goes on to make lightweight but lucrative movies. Despite her success Carrie can never quite shake the feeling that Meadow looks down on her work. The contours of their relationship are traced with subtlety and nuance, but this story is as much about art as it is about friendship. Spiotta has a penchant for writing obsessive, vaguely delusional creative types. The blurring of truth and fiction is a recurrent motif in Innocents and Others , which begins with Meadow recalling having had an affair with Orson Welles shortly before his death; the anecdote is later outed as a fabrication.
Innocents and Others is an American novel by Dana Spiotta. It was first published by Scribner in It follows the friendship of two American filmmakers, Meadow Mori and Carrie Wexler, who grow up together and remain friends as their careers rise. In the s, teenage Meadow Mori writes an experimental essay during which she watches City Lights twenty times in a row; she does this because her favourite filmmaker claimed everything he learned about film he learned from watching this film 20 times. After her project is done, she sends a copy to the filmmaker, who invites her to lunch. The two begin an affair, and Meadow defers university to live with him.
Jelly is older than Meadow and Carrie. Delighting in her talent — not simply in the power of domination, but in the fantasy it thus allows her to indulge in about herself — she becomes something of a celebrity amongst certain men in Hollywood. The obvious story here is that of the artist versus the con artist — the former exposing the latter, Inside Operator a proto- Catfish. Innocents and Others is this and something much more. Spiotta is a supremely intelligent writer. Remarkably, rather than detract from the story being told, these forays into different mediums enrich and enliven her narrative, and I found myself increasingly engrossed as I read.