Shopgirl

Shopgirl

3.42 (32,518 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Paperback
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Description

Mirabelle works as a shop assistant in the glove department at Niemans, L.A.'s finest store; she also draws darkly gothic pictures at night. Adrift in the world and lonely, her situation is not improved by the fact that hardly anyone buys the kind of gloves that Niemans sell so she spends most of her day leaning on the counter staring into empty space. There are two men in her life - Jeremy, a man who stencils amplifiers for a living, and Mr Ray Porter, an older man and millionaire who applies logic to relationships, and is serially confused and disappointed. In this exquisitely self-contained novel, Steve Martin touches on the surface horrors of L.A. - the false noses, lips, breasts and people - without exaggeration or explicitly playing for laughs. It's insightful, dark, funny and tender Shopgirl is an incredibly strong piece of fiction.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 220 pages
  • 128 x 192 x 12mm | 140.62g
  • Orion Publishing Co
  • Orion mass market paperback
  • London, United Kingdom
  • open market ed
  • 0752843117
  • 9780752843117

About Steve Martin

Steve Martin is one of today's most talented performers. His huge successes as a film actor include such credits as ROXANNE, FATHER OF THE BRIDE, PARENTHOOD and THE SPANISH PRISONER. He has won Emmys for his television writing and two Grammys for comedy albums. In addition to the bestselling PURE DRIVEL, he has written several plays, including Picasso at the Lapin Agile and a highly acclaimed novel, SHOPGIRL. His work appears in The New Yorker and The New York Times.show more

Review Text

I have always been mystified by Steve Martin's goofy slapstick comedies. I sat through three or four of them with a stone face before giving up. So I was unprepared for the delightful dry wit and simple, relaxed prose of Shopgirl. Mirabelle, the title character, is an attractive 28-year-old wallflower 'who never suspects maliciousness of anyone'. She spends her days standing behind the rarely-visited glove counter of a chic Beverley Hills department store, staring into space. At night, she reads dark 19th-century novels and draws. In the morning, she takes anti-depressants and feeds her cats. Mirabelle seems a fragile relic of a previous era, like Audrey Hepburn adrift in a David Mamet world. Her saviour seems to be Ray Porter, a 50ish millionaire divorcee who sends her a pair of gloves bought from her own counter. On the surface he is charming and kind, but he is also confused and adrift: 'His caring is a potion, mixed with one part benevolent altruist and one part chimpanzee penis.' The other occasional man in her life is Jeremy, a young slacker who stencils amplifiers for a living. Jeremy's idea of a romantic tryst is that he could 'come over and then leave early so you could sleep.' Martin has written a treat of a novel about sex, responsibility and love that manages to be brutally bleak and yet hopeful and genuinely funny. Some of his characters suffer and grow, while others merely suffer. Martin's theme is spelled out clearly (twice): 'it is pain that changes our lives'. I was so impressed that I nearly rented a Steve Martin movie. Nearly, but not quite. Reviewed by KERRY SHALE. Editor's note: Kerry Shale is an actor who has recorded many audio cassettes including Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods. (Kirkus UK)show more

Rating details

32,518 ratings
3.42 out of 5 stars
5 15% (4,731)
4 33% (10,780)
3 36% (11,569)
2 13% (4,339)
1 3% (1,099)
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