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The Hollywood Dodo [Hardcover]

Geoff Nicholson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

May 2004
Following the death of his wife, Henry Cadwallader, an English doctor, insists on accompanying his aspiring actress daughter, Dorothy, on a trip to Hollywood. He fears she will fall prey to corruption and sleaze, but finds that it is actually he who is being corrupted, at every turn. On the flight to LA, they meet ?auteur of the future?, Rick McCartney. Rick?s trying to get the backing to make a costume drama set in 17th century England about a man who owns what he fears is the last dodo on earth. Dorothy Cadwallader?s quest for fame begins badly and goes downhill from there. Meanwhile Henry becomes involved with a former porn actress turned estate agent. The lives of Henry and Dorothy once again intersect with that of Rick McCartney, to dramatic effect as the characters find themselves drawn to the brink, where dreams die and extinction threatens.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Printing edition (May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743257790
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743257794
  • Product Dimensions: 22.1 x 14.9 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,347,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


‘A fascinating oddball novel… in turns funny, a little poignant and hugely entertaining’ -- Four-star review, Big Issue in the North

‘Black comedy, film, and history intertwine to offer a lively original read’ -- Good Book Guide

‘The sublimely good Geoff Nicholson’s new novel is an absolute treat… elegant, exceptional novel’ -- Scotland on Sunday (23/5/04) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Geoff Nicholson was born in Sheffield and educated at Cambridge University. He worked as a bookseller before becoming a writer and has since written fourteen novels and two works of non-fiction. His novel Street Sleeper was shortlisted for the Yorkshire Post First Work Award and Bleeding London was shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize. He now lives in Los Angeles. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars quirky 14 Dec 2013
By izzie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I loved this. Geoff Nicholson never fails to amuse me with his brilliant, witty, creative writing. Totally drawn in. couldn't put it down.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dodo as Metaphor and Punchline 17 Oct 2004
By Debbie Lee Wesselmann - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In this delectable satire about Hollywood and extinction, Geoff Nicholson serves up a complicated recipe of has-beens, wannabes, maybes, and a few dodos - both literal and figurative. British physician Henry accompanies his aspiring actress and yellow-toothed daughter Dorothy to Hollywood where she is supposed to meet with a talent scout. On the airplane, their paths cross briefly with self-described "Auteur of the Future" Rick, a young man prone to panic attacks and bouts of self-importance. Rick harbors an obsession with dodo birds which leads him (and the reader) to the mysterious story of William Draper, a 17th century medical student afflicted with erythrohepatic porphyria, a genetic condition that causes skin to blister with exposure to sunlight. Draper, too, is obsessed with dodos, and sets out to procure one of the last of the species on display in a seedy quarter of London. As Henry discovers a similarly afflicted man trying to sell him an animation cel of a dodo, as Rick struggles with a bizarrely vivid past life regression brought on by a beautiful one-legged woman, and as Draper tries desperately to find a mate for his beloved but aging dodo, real-life intrudes on film, becoming art in itself, and questions arise about what is contrived and what is real. And of course, since this is a novel, those questions ultimately mean nothing since all is fiction.

With chapter titles cleverly named after movies, Nicholson never loses sight of the artificiality of the genre he is mocking. The scenes that take place in Hollywood are hilarious, while Draper's affliction and affections are touchingly told. Perhaps the most daring turn is Nicholson's dovetailing of disparate plot elements into a wild, unexpected finale. While much is left unexplained, the narrative wink at the end brings it all together.

This is a truly fun novel. Nicholson's wit is more sly than biting, and he relishes the absurd. Below the hilarity lurks more serious themes - of corruption (what else in Hollywood?), of obsession, and of mortality - but these ideas never alter the established tone. Readers will find that they can't put this novel aside for more than a few hours before picking it up again to devour the next chapter.
5.0 out of 5 stars there is real heart in this book, not just farce 24 Dec 2012
By Elaine Radford - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I hope it is OK to post three lines from a review I wrote of this book awhile back for my personal diary: "Yes, a British farce, but still a story that sneaks in and touches your heart. The scenes set in the 1600s focus on a hero whose great dream is to breed the dodo and repopulate the world with them. Sad how life makes his dream slip away step by step, day by day, year by year." The other information on this page makes it clear about the farcical and ridiculous elements. But don't get sand-bagged. (If anyone remembers the dog episode of the TV show "Futurama," you know what I'm talking about when you think you are just seeing something silly and then suddenly you are hit by life's sadness.) There is a deep feeling hidden in this story, especially in the 17th century thread.

I read the hardcover edition, not the Kindle version, but I saw nothing in the original format to make me think it wouldn't convert easily to Kindle.
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