Pretty Things:
a novel by Susan Compo

204 pages, paperback

Charles Bukowski hailed Susan Compo as "a pretty girl with a dirty mind," while Publishers Weekly praised her "witty, unflinching prose." Compo's narrative voice -- satirical and allusive -- has been compared to Dorothy Parker's, and her characters display the same irresistible blend of smart-ass wit, despair, and whistling-in-the-dark bravado. Following two highly regarded story collections, Compo's first novel takes a sharp-eyed look at LA's culture industry.

Adon, Brad, and little Miss Culligan could lead off a celebrity ABC. In the clash of egos that defines Hollywood, though, there is no lasting order, and talent-handler Giselle Entwistle has her hands full keeping these (and several other) career fires burning-along with a rare romance of her own. If teen idol Adon's goatee looks patchy, or ambitious screenwriter Brad lacks principle, it's all part of the game.

But when Len Tingle, the agency's rising country star, takes off with another client, while child prodigy belter Frances Culligan goes missing, Giselle could be overchallenged.

Meanwhile, the mysterious Pandra hands Giselle a haunting memoir of life in early 1970s glitter-era Los Angeles. Pandra's narrative-which forms a book within this book-does more than describe a journey from teenage scene-making to prostitution it hints that a long-lost rock star may have been murdered.

about the author:

Susan Compo is the author of two collections of stories, Life After Death and Malingering.

She grew up a surfer kid in Orange County, California, before moving to Los Angeles, where she published the seminal punk fanzine Blank Generation.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Compo moved back and forth between LA and London, writing about music for Mojo, SPIN, and other magazines, as well as exploring its echoes in her fiction. She currently lives in Los Angeles and teaches writing at the University of Southern California and Cal Arts.


reviews:

“What Carolyn See has done for Topanga Canyon, what Kate Braverman has done for palms, Susan Compo does for Orange County in Pretty Things, a raucous and ribald tale… a high-spirited story that allows us to sense the pain that throbs just beneath the surface.
--Los Angeles Times

“No one writes prose like Susan Compo. She’s a complete Los -Angeles original—elegant, wistful, funny… and not to be missed.”
--Sandra Tsing Loh

"Compo's talent is conveying the smart, sassy side of her leading ladies. Giselle's lightning quick assessments and criticisms are worthy of a Lorrie Moore creation."--Portland Mercury

"Dead-on observations of LA culture, show business, and human nature."--Booklist

"Each character is drawn with acute detail
and sympathy. She keeps the wit dry and the satire honest. There's something magical
about Pandra's adventures in Orange
County's endless summers and Hollywood's sparkle days."--Willamette Week

go home