The Chrysanthemum Palace (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
The Chrysanthemum Palace describes the giddy joys and private envies of the self-absorbed fast-track Hollywood crowd. Writer, actor, director, and producer Bruce Wagner’s latest novel, a bit autobiographical, wallows happily in the domain of drugs, famous people and also-rans, and the tectonically moving culture of Hollywood’s celebrity families. It offers a clip taken from the underachieving lives of three children of the rich and famous and their supporting cast of dysfunctional characters.
Bertram Valentine (an allusion to the hero of the 1961 novel Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein) Krohn narrates the book. He is the thirty-eight-year-old son of a multitalented and megasuccessful television producer. The father’s current series in production is the long-running Starwatch: The Navigators, an enterprise on which Bertie has long resisted sailing. His hope has been to become successful without resorting to nepotism. In the shadow of his larger-than-life dad, Bertie has come to realize that he will never achieve significant greatness as long as he continues to ply his trade as an actor. He revises his dream to a more manageable and possibly more attainable one: life as a writer. In the verisimilitude of fiction, The Chrysanthemum Palace is presented as the product of this new career direction. It is Bertie Krohn’s work. To support himself while he writes, he accepts an acting role in his father’s...
(The entire section is 1526 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
Booklist 101, no. 8 (December 15, 2004): 709-710.
Kirkus Reviews 72, no. 22 (November 15, 2004): 1068.
The New York Times 154 (February 22, 2005): E1-E6.
The New York Times Book Review 154 (March 13, 2005): 27.
People 63, no. 9 (March 7, 2005): 51.
Publishers Weekly 252, no. 1 (January 3, 2005): 33-34.
Time 165, no. 6 (February 7, 2005): 75.
(The entire section is 33 words.)