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Any Resemblance to Actual Persons

A Novel

List Price: $15.95

November 11, 2014 | Paperback | 6 x 9, 240 Pages | ISBN 9781619024359
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"A community college professor and aspiring writer becomes obsessed with disproving his sister’s claim that their father was responsible for the notorious Black Dahlia murder… A humorous, well-written account of the damaging consequences of an intellectual obsession." —Kirkus

In the spirit of Motherless Brooklyn or Remains of the Day, Allardice offers up a searing and memorable debut.

When Paul McWeeney’s older sister writes a book accusing their late father of committing the gruesome Black Dahlia murder, based on memories her new therapist has helped her recover, or imagine, he sits down to write a cease and desist letter to the publishers. Paul hopes to refute his sister’s claims about their father’s role in the infamous 1947 murder, arguing for his own divergent memory of their Hollywood childhood by way of defending their father’s name and legacy. But the letter begins to take on a life of its own, and Paul, a failed novelist and community college writing instructor, soon finds himself on an obsessive, elliptical exploration of both his family’s history and his own conflicted memory, which begins to absorb his daily life and threaten his relationships with those closest to him. The letter becomes not the intended refutation but rather a disturbing and wildly comical psychological self-portrait of a man caught between increasingly unstable versions of the past. 

KEVIN ALLARDICE was born and raised in the Bay Area, and received his MFA from University of Virginia. This is his first novel. He lives in Oakland, CA.

Praise

“A community college professor and aspiring writer becomes obsessed with disproving his sister’s claim that their father was responsible for the notorious Black Dahlia murder…A humorous, well-written account of the damaging consequences of an intellectual obsession.” —Kirkus

“It’s quite a funny book, by turns broad and sly, and, occasionally, it’s shocking, as when Paul uses Ritalin to face grading students’ assignments and later upgrades to cocaine for energy and clarity. Through it all, though, we empathize with his travail.” —Booklist

“Quite a unique read… Any Resemblance to Actual Persons promises a multilayered story and a look into an obsessed mind.” —Portland Book Review

“A giddy and delirious romp through the back (bowling) alleys of memory, Any Resemblance to Actual Persons shows why history should always be written by the losers — by those obsessive failed actors who either can’t or won’t untangle themselves from the cat’s cradle of their own fictional constructions. If every life is, at bottom, a furious battle for authorship, then this hilarious first novel looks to be a winner by knock-out.” —Robert Cohen, author of Amateur Barbarians

“Digression becomes an art form and an unexpected path to truth in this beautiful debut novel by Kevin Allardice. Any Resemblance to Actual Persons is a funny, sad, and profound book.” —Matthew Sharpe, author of You Were Wrong

“What a whip smart and original novel. Steeped in the legacy of the Black Dahlia case, we watch Paul McWeeney conduct an investigation into his Hollywood past, but what we really get is a hilarious and endlessly absorbing portrait of obsession. I didn’t want it to end.” —Emma Rathbone, author of The Patterns of Paper Monsters

“With technical bravura, anarchic wit, and deep cultural insight, Any Resemblance to Actual Persons somehow sneaks a highly personal story into the near-mythic world of the Black Dahlia case. Allardice gets all the details right, from the scarily plausible explanation of the crime to the dark shadows of literary obsession and familial dysfunction to the outsize absurdities of fleeting fame. Postmodern noir, burlesque comedy, and prose that surprises on every page—this is one impressive performance.” —Will Boast, author of Masters of Change

Any Resemblance To Actual Persons is a master class in voice, and a comic novel of searing insight and intelligence. This is the book Thomas Bernhard might have written had he been raised in California on a diet of police procedurals and Raymond Chandler novels, and was a bit less grumpy.” —Adam Wilson, author of Flatscreen

“Mix Nabokov’s Pale Fire with James Ellroy’s The Black Dahlia, and the result is a crime novel in a centrifuge, or a salad spinner at the very least. Kevin Allardice’s Any Resemblance to Actual Persons is emphatically not about the usual winnowing of clues until a solution is found, but the opposite: the multiplication of motives and misinterpretations. It’s a comic novel for sure, but in the end the joke is closer to the miasma of real life than we might care to admit, and I’m fairly sure, on us.” —Jim Krusoe, author of Parsifal

“Kevin Allardice’s novel is a meticulously distorted and hilarious drama of self-delusion. Funny, sad, insightful—and a killer prose style, too.” —Sara Levine, author of Treasure Island!!! 

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