I'm Dying Laughing

I'm Dying Laughing

3.52 (25 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

This is a novel of the 1930's and 1940's, set against the political backdrop of fashionable Hollywood Marxism that later came increasingly under attack and culminated in the savage repression of McCarthyism.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 464 pages
  • 128 x 194 x 22mm | 258.55g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • 0140110968
  • 9780140110968

Review Text

An aptly, ironically titled novel of politics and the dark places of the heart, by the author of that groundswell classic The Man Who Loved Children (1940). Stead both entered and exited this world from her home port of Sydney, but roamed widely in the interim. I'm Dying Laughing reflects the sum of Stead's worldly experience: the political activism; the far-flung years in New York, London, Paris. Spanning three decades and two continents, it involves Emily Wilkes and Stephen Howard, two idealistic young Americans caught up in the currents of radical politics during the Depression 30's and New Deal 40's, who flee to Europe when they become implicated in the witch-hunts of the McCarthy years. Against this documental, backdrop is set the more intimately political drama of human relations, with all the dark dualities (e.g., freedom versus love and "the marriage hearse") so characteristic of Stead. But, alas, Stead was more adept at conceptualizing people than personifying concepts, and this didactic novel of ideas seems queerly cadaverous after the almost ungovernable autonomy of life that veins the leaves of The Man Who Loved Children There are those who feel that, in the wake of that book's popular success, Stead was left foundering in an undertow of uncertainty about her art. Certainly, this beached whale of a book - a leviathan 400-odd pages - unpublished at her death and posthumously reconstructed by her literary executor, R.G. Geering, is, while true to the letter, somehow lacking in the spirit of its creator. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

25 ratings
3.52 out of 5 stars
5 24% (6)
4 24% (6)
3 36% (9)
2 12% (3)
1 4% (1)
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