Voilà, one reason the Siren has been MIA for long stretches this year: Missing Reels, her first novel, will be published by the Overlook Press this November. It is available for pre-order at Amazon.com and BN.com.
For those of you who may be attending: On May 29, from about 11:30 am to 12:30 pm, in her everyday guise as plain old Farran Smith Nehme, the Siren will be at BookExpo America at the Javits Center in Manhattan, signing copies of the galleys at the Overlook Press booth.
Here’s part of the jacket copy as it stands now:
New York in the late 1980s. Ceinwen Reilly has just moved from Yazoo City, Mississippi, and she’s never going back, minimum wage job (vintage store salesgirl) and shabby apartment (Avenue C walkup) be damned. Who cares about earthly matters when Ceinwen can spend her days and her nights at fading movie houses—and most of the time that’s left trying to look like Jean Harlow?
One day, Ceinwen discovers that her downstairs neighbor may have—just possibly—starred in a forgotten silent film that hasn’t been seen for ages. So naturally, it’s time for a quest. She will track down the missing reels, she will impress her neighbor, and she will become a part of movie history: the archivist as ingénue.
As she embarks on her grand mission, Ceinwen meets a somewhat bumbling, very charming, 100 percent English math professor named Matthew, who is as rational as she is dreamy. Together, they will or will not discover the reels, will or will not fall in love, and will or will not encounter the obsessives that make up the New York silent film nut underworld.
The Siren started work on Missing Reels about three years ago, when friend Tom Shone (a novelist in his own right, and In the Rooms is wonderful) cheerfully suggested she write a novel. She decided that the revival-house scene in New York in the late 1980s (in its death throes, though most of us were in denial about that at the time) would be a good setting for a romantic comedy.
Naturally, Missing Reels also reflects the Siren’s obsessions which, as you know, are obsessive indeed.
So for fun, and to get back into the swing of things, the Siren figured she’d go through Missing Reels, and catalogue the film references. And from time to time, she’ll put up other posts with other photographs representing the vast and eclectic group of films and film folk that are mentioned — however briefly or obliquely — in her novel.
If nothing else, it will be decorative.
And afterward, the Siren has three half-finished posts awaiting her ministrations. She is eager to get back to her regularly irregular blogging schedule. She misses you guys, a lot.
So, the epigraph:
|The Crowd, 1928 (screenplay by King Vidor and John V.A. Weaver)|
|Jean Harlow's double Mary Dees hides behind binoculars in Saratoga, completed in 1937 after Harlow died, age 26.|
|Red Dust, 1932|
|The Ox-Bow Incident, 1943 (roped in at left: Anthony Quinn and Dana Andrews)|
|Bette Davis (with Marlene Burnett) in The Old Maid, 1939|
|Anna May Wong and Marlene Dietrich in Shanghai Express, 1932|