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The Hollywood Trilogy

A Couple of Comedians, The True Story of Jody McKeegan, and Turnaround

List Price: $18.95

September 9, 2014 | Paperback | 6 x 9, 420 Pages | ISBN 9781619023420
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“Literary history is filled with posthumous discoveries, but the work of Don Carpenter is a bona fide treasure.” —Los Angeles Magazine

Don Carpenter wrote about Hollywood like no one else. The Hollywood Trilogy collects, for the first time, Carpenter’s most significant Hollywood novels— A Couple of Comedians, The Turnaround and The True Life Story of Jody McKeegan — into a single volume. Here readers will find the jungle of “B” movie Hollywood with no attempt to dress up the rawness and vulgarity of this “glamorous” town. Carpenter’s characters occupy every facet of Hollywood —there are naïve and shy young men trying to break into the business, one-picture wonders, comedy duos, beautiful starlets and middle-aged moguls wondering how exactly they got where they are. All are drawn with the wit, pace and above all, the authenticity that were Don Carpenter’s trademarks.

Following the Spring 2014 publication of Friday at Enrico’s, Carpenter’s “forgotten” novel finished and championed by Jonathan Lethem, interest in Carpenter’s work is at an all time high. The Hollywood Trilogy will introduce readers to an entirely new facet of Carpenter’s work, just waiting to be discovered by a contemporary audience.

DON CARPENTER was born in Berkeley in 1932. Raised in Portland, he enlisted in the Air Force and returned to the Bay Area at the end of his service. He published 10 novels during his lifetime, and spent 12 years in and out of Hollywood writing for movies and television. After years of poor health, he committed suicide in Mill Valley in 1995.


“Literary history is filled with posthumous discoveries, but the work of Don Carpenter is a bona fide treasure.” —Los Angeles Magazine

“Despite the late recognition being bestowed in recent years on Carpenter…he remains one of the best unheralded American novelists of the last half of the twentieth century. […] The three novels gathered here, informed by what Carpenter saw in Hollywood, are, for me, his greatest achievement.” —The Barnes and Noble Review

“Don Carpenter—long regarded by his peers as one of the best writers in the West, long forgotten by the rest of us—wrote some of the genre’s most distinctive entries.” —L.A. Weekly

A Couple of Comedians (1979) is a raunchy, high-spirited ramble from David’s Northern California ranch to Hollywood… David is the narrator, and his view of Hollywood is nuanced. Less quirky is The True Life Story of Jody McKeegan (1975). […] The suspense goes down to the wire. Two of these insider’s novels…give fresh impetus to the Carpenter revival.” —Kirkus

“Nobody around today writes as skillfully and authoritatively about the crazy world of movies and show biz as Don Carpenter. He is doing for present-day Hollywood what Daniel Defoe did for 18th-century London—charting its licit and illicit commerce, exploring its underside, revealing in precise detail how the place works.” —Bruce Cook, Washington Post Book World

“I never knew what they meant when they said so-and-so writes like an angel, but now I do. Don Carpenter gives us a superb prose, light, fast as the speed of reading, quick in its turns, luminous, tender, humorous, sad, full of wise woe and cosmic optimism.” —Norman Mailer, author of The Executioner’s Song

“George Pelecanos and others helped get his first novel back into print, but Carpenter wrote several others that are, in their fashion, just as good… [As] is so often the case with Carpenter, he seems most closely related to Nathanael West, only West isn’t forgotten.”—Daniel Woodrell, author of Give Us a Kiss

“Don Carpenter has a strong, singular talent. I enjoyed A Couple of Comedians. It moves rapidly, with a sense of authenticity. The people are audible, visible, nearly palpable, and the ghostly aura of Lotus Land that he evokes is enough to freeze the soul.” —Evan S. Connell, author of Mrs. Bridge

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