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A Way of Life, Like Any Other


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A hilarious and devastating tale of growing up in Hollywood.

About the Author

Darcy O'Brien (1939-1998) was an award-winning author and son of early film stars George O'Brien and Marguerite Churchill. His first novel, A Way of Life, Like Any Other won him the PEN/Hemingway Award in 1978. O'Brien went on to produce several bestsellers and two further award winning books: Murder in Little Egypt and Power to Hurt, both of which received the Edgar Allan Poe Award. His last work, The Hidden Pope (1998), received much acclaim before his death later that same year.


"[A] little gem of a novel...a masterwork of Hollywood fiction." - Salon

"A hysterically funny coming-of-age story set in Hollywood in the '40s...a kind of Catcher in the Rye for the Cheap Trick generation." - GQ

"How is it that this minor comic masterpiece could ever have gone out of print? Darcy O'Brien's 1977 novel...takes us into an alien culture, Hollywood in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and evokes that kitschy world with spectacularly deadpan humor." - Michael Dirda, The Atlantic Monthly

"A hilarious addition to the fabulous Hollywood novel, this time laconic, understated, deadpan, ruthlessly cutting from scene to scene and character to character, and both witty and moving. I enjoyed it enormously, and recommend it unreservedly as a funny, serious, literate, and intelligent book." - The Guardian

"It is the real thing....It's bound to go like a greyhound, fast and fine." - Seamus Heaney

"This novel's teen-age hero, a kind of West Coast Holden Caulfield, tells of his surreal coming of age in Hollywood as the son of a former cowboy star and a faded actress. When their marriage breaks up, he bounces around town trying to find his bearings, with results both farcical and serious." - Press-Telegram

"O'Brien's storytelling voice is at once eminently sensible and attuned to absurdity; he sees what's amusing in his world without rendering it as caricature....A Way of Life, Like Any Other takes the same sane, amused attitude to the hyperbolic reality that is Hollywood. Like an infinitely slyer Margaret Mead, O'Brien shows us the culture he grew up in, and living up to his title, helps us understand how this way of life is like any other - sort of, anyway." - John Powers, LA Weekly, Best L.A. Novel

"Spawned by a pair of movie stars from Hollywood's golden age, the unnamed boy narrator of this indirect and vinegary little book wonders: Was there ever so pampered an ass as mine?" - Kirkus Reviews

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