Faber & Faber £12.99 (197pp) £11.69 from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
Palo Alto, By James Franco
Friday 14 January 2011
"My sophomore year in high school, I killed a woman", confesses one narrator; "One year a kid brought a gun to school and shot his ex-girlfriend at brunch because she had a new boyfriend", reveals another.
Not all these stories of teen angst, set in the Californian suburb of Palo Alto in which actor-writer-artist James Franco (currently starring in Danny Boyle's 127 Hours) grew up, are violent.
When they are, the shock is cushioned by a deadpan narrative tone that perfectly sums up the pain, boredom and horror of adolescence.
"Halloween" describes a boy's emotional dissociation after he kills a stranger; "Chinatown" is a complex depiction of sexual consent/violation. Franco proves he is as adept at writing fiction as winning a Golden Globe.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Al Pacino on suffering from depression: 'It can last and it's terrifying'
- 2 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Jessica Chastain demands Scarlett Johansson-fronted Marvel superhero movie
Downton Abbey series 5 start date revealed: ITV drama to return in late September
Nicki Minaj suffers wardrobe malfunction during MTV VMAs performance with Ariana Grande and Jessie J
How to read Will Self: Unlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
New Netflix releases: Films and TV shows coming in September 2014
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain