Double Feature: A Novel
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“An ambitious and warmhearted first novel” (Entertainment Weekly) from Owen King—the epic tale of a young man coming to terms with his life in the aftermath of the spectacularly bizarre failure of his first film.
SAM DOLAN is a young man coming to terms with his life in the process and aftermath of making his first film. He has a difficult relationship with his father, B-movie actor Booth Dolan—a boisterous, opinionated, lying lothario whose screen legacy falls somewhere between cult hero and pathetic. Allie, Sam’s dearly departed mother, was a woman whose only fault, in Sam’s eyes, was her eternal affection for his father. Also included in the cast of indelible characters: a precocious, frequently violent half-sister; a conspiracy-theorist second wife; an Internet-famous roommate; a contractor who can’t stop expanding his house; a happy-go-lucky college girlfriend and her husband, a retired Yankees catcher; the morose producer of a true-crime show; and a slouching indie-film legend. Not to mention a tragic sex monster.
Unraveling the tumultuous, decades-spanning story of the Dolan family’s friends, lovers, and adversaries, Double Feature is about letting go of everything—regret, resentment, dignity, moving pictures, the dead—and taking it again from the top. Against the backdrop of indie filmmaking, college campus life, contemporary Brooklyn, and upstate New York, Owen King’s epic debut novel combines propulsive storytelling with mordant wit and brims with a deep understanding of the trials of ambition and art, of relationships and life, and of our attempts to survive it all.
because the Aldo had not seen such-and-such’s immortal, incomparable, towering cinema classic. Such caffeinated talk was the coin of the realm at Who We Argot, an all-purpose meeting place and database for discussions, tributes, and screening locations, and the hub of the camp industry that flourished around his blighted film. On a few drunken nights, Sam had succumbed to the temptation and clicked away into the morning, laddering down through the message boards. There were numerous debates
trim yellow-gray reverse beard at the bottom of Tom’s skull; and at the right, Booth’s bushy white curls. Who We Are was playing on the television. Roger is on the footpath to the parking lot. He is talking to his father on a cell phone. “What are you talking about?” “Your mother. There was an accident.” The voice-over takes a harsh breath. “She is . . . She’s gone.” Roger lowers the phone and scratches his temple, considering. When he raises it, the cell is a newer, smaller model. “Nice try,
down the car. “How’s that?” Booth’s chuckle pealed off the steel walls of the car. “It is not Orson Welles’s actual nose, I assure you, madam. It’s just a mold. Welles would have filled it with latex in order to create a theatrical nose, like this—” Booth plowed a hand into his trouser pocket and came out with a yellowish blob. He quickly massaged the prosthetic back into shape and held it for the woman to see—bridge, tip, nostrils. “You always carry a nose in your pocket?” she asked. “Yes.”
that he couldn’t understand about what Brooks had done, the director in Sam could grasp at least this: the desire to put a wonder to print. The satyr ceases to play and stops with one hoof hanging in the air; the hoof must be some kind of shoe covering designed to look like a hoof, and to make hoof beat–like noises. He lowers his panpipe. His white-haired ball sack dangles gruesomely. His penis—exists. It is there. “Who are we?” asks the satyr. Behind Sam, Patch made a wordless noise,
altogether as though he had never been cast from their home. Sam could recall a particular Christmas Eve in the early nineties. Booth’s arrival had been imminent. His mother had been in the kitchen, cooking for her ex-husband. “I’m disappointed in you, Mom,” Sam blurted. He had been thirteen, a craterous zit aching and glistening in the center of his chin. Allie looked up from the trellis of piecrust that she was attempting to puzzle out. She frowned, blew her bangs out of her eyes. His mother