Garbo Laughs by Elizabeth Hay
We've all known such people in our lives. It may even be us. Those who can relate to movies better than to real life. The Golds and their neighbours who live in a leafy suburb in Ottawa are a bunch of old movie fanatics. Dysfunctional in real life, they come alive while discussing Garbo, Sinatra, Hepburn and Keaton. Even the quotidian existence of everyday suburban life seems sepia-toned in this wry narrative. There isn't much by way of plot but the characters - Harriet and her children - the
ever-comparing, ever-quizzing Kenny and the romantic Jane, journalist and close pal Dinah, Harriet's anti-social aunt Leah, her odd-ball cousin Jack, song-detective Jim, neighbours Fiona and of course, Harriet's non-movie-watching husband Lew make a motley and colourful group. They fight and squabble over who was a better actor and which is a superior movie. They make a ritual of their Friday night movies and that ritual stays despite changing circumstances of their individual lives.
But, if like me, you are not a Hollywood movie buff, much of the references will be lost on you. Eventually, I tired of the tinsel stars and 360 pages seemed a very long read. This one didn't do it for me.