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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 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 Edward tells his own story, commenting on the actions, appearances, and attitudes of every other character in the piece in ways that ultimately reveal 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. The confessions are a pseudo memoir, by an author exploring acting from from the outside All the impressive, then, that actors and critics have treated the book with respect It has been widely reviewed, attracting some eminent commentary, particularly in relation to its setting 1970s Broadway and insights into the acting profession As usual, Valerie Martin walks around her topic to observe all sides, and isn t scared of big themes This time it is life and death, the double, the Self and Other, the limits of what we can know Above all, though, it studies the impact of a persecutor in your life.Edward was one of four boys to a mother who had longed for a daughter He was the most girlish of them and closest to his mother, but she abandoned her family for a lesbian relationship Edward s first night of sex with a girl coincides with his mother s suicide It leaves him with a wish to be other than he is He declares that his acting isn t about narcissism or even self expression, but rather the chance to be someone else.A talented fellow actor later tells him I get myself from what I see you getting about me But that is different to seeing oneself only through a persona through an outer shell seen by others, like politicians crafting themselves around their images That is not, perhaps, a bad way to start , Edward tells us, but you truly find yourself as an actor when you discover and draw out your inner self, and subordinate it to your purposes.Such subtlety distinguishes Edward from fellow actor Guy Margate Guy sees himself only through a persona, even in moments of crisis He is unaware, for example, of how his jealous gaze at Edward could be applied by him on stage Guy has a gift for mimicry, but mimics, we re told, are rarely good actors.The story turns around Guy and Edward They are both aspiring actors, very similar looking, chasing the same parts In one scene they actually stare at each other s reflections in the mirror They pursue the same woman, fellow thespian Madeleine This double stuff is so blatant that we are being invited, I think, to look beyond it.Early on in the novel the reader first encounters Guy in the act of saving Edward s life One night Edward swims out from a beach near the holiday house where he has been partying with other young actors and seducing one of them , but gets caught a riptide Guy swims out and pulls him free, but from then on Guy is toxic for Edward Like Edward s mother, Guy follows the gift of life with small but ongoing doses of death.Guy sets Edward up, puts him in a bad light whereever possible, overpowers him in any social situation he can He finds and plays on weak spots, sends varied signals of menace He tries to disorient Edward through moments of phony friendship.The biggest problem for Edward is Guy s parasitic hunger for his life His hard won bits of money will do for a start Then there is the issue of Edward s latent theatrical talent Perhaps Guy senses that whatever his own short terms successes he is hollow as an actor and person The dead gazing upon the living , he fastens on Edward he will never just drift away.Perhaps it amused a female writer to study rivalry between men.Above all, it is a fight over the fellow young thespian Madeleine Within this triangle another theme of the book plays out the limits of what we can know of the world and one another We see only through Edward s eyes, so a lot of their interplay is hidden But Guy s cold commentary on Edward shows that our enemies have insights about us, knowledge we ourselves lack or won t look at.In these memoirs Edward does not give Madeleine s personality the same attention as Guy s indeed, once he has her for himself his interest in her declines, until Guy makes another move on her, and the story darkens.Madeleine s vagueness contrasts with the dazzling power of Marlene Webern, as she blazes briefly through Edward s career An older, accomplished performer, Marlene sees deeply into Edward and shocks him to life as an actor He lusts for her yet she is really the Good Mother he s missed, and whom Guy will never have.At one curious moment early in the book, when Guy and Edward walk away from the nocturnal beach rescue, Guy insists that they already know each other Perhaps so his animosity to Edward is already fully formed In that case Edward as autobiographer has left many blanks, and has let this anecdote slip through a calculatedly false account of their relations Some reviewers have taken this approach and one interpreted Edward himself as a monster But I think it would be in keeping with the story to understand Guy s assertion as the first of many ploys to knock his enemy off balance In that case his hatred of Edward had ignited only hours before, during a the party in which Edward was busy with Madeleine, still blessedly unaware of Guy s existence. 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 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 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. 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 anyone including the week or so when I was in the middle of reading it That just can t be a good sign, right [ DOWNLOAD PDF ] ♴ The Confessions of Edward Day: A Novel ♂ 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 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 What a wonderful treat this book is I tend to forget Valerie Martin On the one hand, this means that I end up missing her novels On the other hand, I get to rediscover her often which sort of fulfills my fantasies of re reading various books authors for the first time all over again.I spent most of my twenties thirties in theaters First as an actor later as a director with my own production company Acting was fun because it provided me with an opportunity to explore sides of myself that I tended to avoid to do things I d probably never ever do in my real life Directing, however, was my ultimate love in the theater Where else do you get to interrogate text prior to making it get up and walk around The Confessions of Edward Day is the memoir of Edward Day, an actor reminiscing about his salad days in the New York theater world of the 1970s where everyone was a student of Stella Adler or Sanford Meisner living hand to mouth from audition to audition waiting for that big break Edward Day is the definitive actor, a narcissist whose self awareness is so thin that he can t see himself Edward stands so far outside himself in observation of his emotions as material for his acting that he is essentially a non person Scarily, he is in many ways the most complete person in this tale of doubling its consequences.Ms Martin is asking some big questions here What is owed to someone who saves your life What does it mean to be both an actor a person If you have a doppleganger, which one of you is real Ms Martin s writing is, as always, superb She manages to create characters who suck you into their worlds She writes with a delicate menace that is reminiscent of Patricia Highsmith, but less bound to the thriller genre This is a wonderfully written, compelling story that ended far too soon. I found myself somewhat perplexed, though highly entertained, by this book It s the story of an actor in the 1970s, his career on the stage and his friendships within the theater community, as well as a deeply antagonistic relationship with a disturbed doppelganger who saves him from drowning early on While the tension of the relationship between Edward and Guy, a kind of manifestation of his baser self, is what drives the plot of the novel, much has been made among reviewers of the way in which Martin creates effectively the world of 1970s NYC theater Yes, she does that, but I was hoping for a little discussion of technique, rehearsal, the actual feeling of being onstage, than is here Martin is interested in the ways in which being an actor both causes and results from a deep, unrelenting narcissism, and how that manifests itself in perpetually self obsessed behavior in one s personal life There s nothing wrong with this as a project, but I suppose I was somewhat disappointed not to get time with Edward on the stage than in a bar Regardless, the plot of this subtle, taught novel is compelling until the final page, and it s a highly enjoyable, thought provoking read. I am almost certain that I read a bad maybe in both senses of the term review of this book that made me hold off on buying it for a week or so after I read and loved the sample chapter on my kindle I can t find that review any, and I m glad, because I loved this book except for the ending, which I didn t quite believe or rather, I believed the very last part, but not the path the main character takes after the denouement.Set mostly in 1970s New York, it both evokes what it was like to be young and starting out in one s career in those days, but also what it is like to be a struggling actor The mix of hope and hate and jealousy and success and failure is very New York, but also very human.I loved the character of Edward Day even as he made it clear that he wasn t all that loveable, or at least not that bad The woman in the love hate triangle that is at the center of this book has a key line I m not as bad as you think That line could apply to all three main characters in the novel. A good beginning, terribly disappointing ending Also broke actors didn t own answering machines in 1974 most vehicles didn t have back up beeps then they only started getting phased in in 1970 messing around with sweet cocktails and calling them martinis didn t happen until the 1990s people were not making mix tapes in 1974 Tofu Pups weren t introduced until 1985 while Polaroid begin selling the kind of camera that spits out the picture in fall 1973, the idea that a broke actor would have one within the year seems unlikely having studied there in the 1990s, Circle in the Square was referred to without an article while he might have ogled women, Sanford Meisner was gay.Valerie Martin is old enough to know firsthand about these anachronisms. Early in this fictional memoir a young aspiring actor is saved from drowning by another who closely resembles him, setting in motion a life long complicated relationship The memoir develops as their lives diverge and they meet with differing successes in love as well as on the stage Martin sets the novel in the New York theater scene of the 70 s and 80 s for plot convenience, illustrating the power play through her protagonist and his savior nemesis It is constructed like a play, with 3 acts and an important coda, and is as much a character study of four representatives of type as a depiction of theater life.