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Mercury Pictures Presents
Mercury Pictures Presents: A Novel | Anthony Marra
The epic tale of a brilliant woman who must reinvent herself to survive, moving from Mussolini's Italy to 1940s Los Angelesa timeless story of love, deceit, and sacrifice from the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. Like many before her, Maria Lagana has come to Hollywood to outrun her past. Born in Rome, where every Sunday her father took her to the cinema instead of church, Maria immigrates with her mother to Los Angeles after a childhood transgression leads to her fathers arrest. Fifteen years later, on the eve of Americas entry into World War II, Maria is an associate producer at Mercury Pictures, trying to keep her personal and professional life from falling apart. Her mother wont speak to her. Her boss, a man of many toupees, has been summoned to Washington by congressional investigators. Her boyfriend, a virtuoso Chinese American actor, cant escape the studios narrow typecasting. And the studio itself, Marias only home in exile, teeters on the verge of bankruptcy. Over the coming months, as the bright lights go dark across Los Angeles, Mercury Pictures becomes a nexus of European migrs: modernist poets trying their luck as B-movie screenwriters, once-celebrated architects becoming scale-model miniaturists, and refugee actors finding work playing the very villains they fled. While the world descends into war, Maria rises through a maze of conflicting politics, divided loyalties, and jockeying ambitions. But when the arrival of a stranger from her fathers past threatens Marias carefully constructed facade, she must finally confront her fathers fateand her own. Written with intelligence, wit, and an exhilarating sense of possibility, Mercury Pictures Presents spans many moods and tones, from the heartbreaking to the ecstatic. It is a love letter to lifes bit players, a panorama of an era that casts a long shadow over our own, and a tour de force by a novelist whose work the Washington Post calls a flash in the heavens that makes you look up and believe in miracles.
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review
squirrelbrain
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Pickpick

I clearly didn‘t read the blurb on this one as I expected it to be a slightly fluffy look at Hollywood film-making but it‘s nothing of the sort.

Maria immigrates to the US just before WWII and we see her back story, and her life as she becomes an enemy alien on US soil.

This was very cleverly written, weaving in the stories of other ‘outcasts‘ into a drily witty tale.

#tob

RebelReader I love Anthony Marra. Also excellent is 2d
sarahbarnes Ooh this makes me very curious about this one. 🤔 2d
Addison_Reads Great review. I have this currently checked out from the library but haven't gotten to it yet. 2d
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Megabooks Another great review! This was my least favorite Marra, but it‘s still a solid book that surprised me with its depth, too. 👍🏻💜 2d
squirrelbrain How are you getting on with this? @Oryx 2d
squirrelbrain I‘ve never read any others of his before @RebelReader - I‘m stacking the one you mentioned, thank you! 2d
CBee @RebelReader 100% agree! It‘s on my favorites of the year list (and my #auldlangspine list too)! 1d
Oryx Not finished it yet but I'm liking it 1d
Hooked_on_books I‘ll definitely try this out if it makes the tourney. I have had a couple of his books for years and have never managed to make myself read them, so I was trying to get to those before reading this one, but that‘s likely to change if he‘s on the short list. 1d
Suet624 @Hooked_on_books his other books are so completely different from this one. This one deals with issues but not in the dark manner they are dealt with in his others. Don‘t get me wrong - I absolutely love his other books. But they are much darker. And weirdly funnier. 1d
Ruthiella I‘m happy to move out of the dark of his previous books and read this one. It‘s sounds like the kind of historical novel I really enjoy. 1d
Hooked_on_books @Suet624 I just have a bad habit of buying books then reading a different one by the same author from the library when I already own one or more of their books! 🙄 I‘m trying to get myself to stop doing that. But it‘s good to know not to judge one of his based on another! 1d
68 likes12 comments
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Oryx
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It's early days (18%), but I'm really enjoying this one.

sarahbarnes This one sounds intriguing for sure! 5d
squirrelbrain I‘m a little way ahead of you (around halfway) and I‘m really enjoying it too - don‘t really know what I expected but it‘s different! 🤣 4d
julesG @squirrelbrain Now I'm curious, you two. 4d
squirrelbrain You know you want to…! @julesG 🤣 4d
julesG Unfortunately, even the word "epic" in the blurb isn't putting me off. I might actually have to get this. @squirrelbrain 4d
57 likes1 stack add5 comments
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Suet624
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Pickpick

The amount of research Marra did for this book is evident in this story that outlines what took place in the US and Italy during WW II. Details large and small, some somber and some lighthearted, move you along the journey of what it means to make it through a war. The role of movies during that time was interesting as well. This story has a large cast of characters and I cared about all of them.

kspenmoll Sounds like something I might want to read, after your review! 1mo
Suet624 @kspenmoll its definitely the time period that you read a lot of. 1mo
squirrelbrain Great review! I got this on #netgalley and clearly I should have read / reviewed it a few months ago…. I hope to get to it soon though. 1mo
Suet624 @squirrelbrain I think of the characters still. One of the characters seems based on this actor: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sessue_Hayakawa. His life story is amazing. (edited) 1mo
Suet624 @squirrelbrain this was actually the link I was looking for. Check out this guy's life...https://www.instagram.com/p/Cky5B-ZO_aw/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link 1mo
52 likes5 comments
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Suet624
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Halfway through this one. This book is soooo different from his last two books. Even though, like his other books, he points out the fickleness and cruelty of people in power, this feels lighter than his previous book. The humor is deceptive. It took me a while to recognize it as such until I found myself chuckling unexpectedly. I really like Marra‘s body of work.

Megabooks Yes! You‘ve definitely hit the nail on the head with this post. 💯💯 1mo
Suet624 @Megabooks I‘m so glad you agree!! 1mo
AmyG I just got this one. Now I am really interested. 1mo
Suet624 @AmyG I hope you like it. He is an acquired taste. 1mo
AmyG I shall find out, won‘t I? 😬 1mo
45 likes5 comments
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Abailliekaras
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Pickpick

I loved this epic novel set in Mussolini‘s Italy and 1940s Hollywood. Rich, textured prose & larger than life characters make it compulsive reading. The settings are brought to life with a mix of realism & nostalgia. I loved the energy, the strong women & sense of humour. A fun, generous book. Highly recommended.

ClairesReads Loved this too. So clever and also compelling. It‘s real vintage storytelling 2mo
Suet624 Gasp! I forgot he had a new book out! 2mo
Abailliekaras @Suet624 @ClairesReads it‘s so good! Vintage is a great word. 2mo
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LeeRHarry I‘m looking forward to reading this one 😊 2mo
Abailliekaras @LeeRHarry you won‘t be disappointed! 2mo
CarolynM Sounds good. Stacked. 2mo
Abailliekaras @CarolynM it‘s so good! 1mo
33 likes2 stack adds7 comments
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ClairesReads
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Pickpick

Everything Anthony Marra touches turns to gold. In his third novel, Marra turns his eye to war-time Hollywood and Mussolini‘s Italy. Censorship and the artful construction of histories and fictions are at the heart of this novel. Marra‘s exploration of the porous border between these two kinds of stories is complex. Constructed histories, and constructed fictions masquerade as and become each other on national, international, and personal scales.

Tonton Just bought this! 2mo
ClairesReads @Tonton lucky you- it‘s excellent 2mo
Suet624 I completely forgot he had written another book. Ordering right this minute. 2mo
43 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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actualdisneyprincess
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I cannot wait for the workday to be over (people are SERIOUSLY trying my patience today), but at least I have a good book to keep me company. 💖 #mercurypicturespresents #anthonymarra

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lele1432
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I‘ve seen some reviews that said this book didn‘t hold the reader‘s interest, and I struggled with reading a sample of the first chapter myself, but so far I‘m glad I tried out the audio version. I‘m not very far in, but I find the commentary on both fascism in Italy and early Hollywood censorship pretty intriguing! #BOTM

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RebelReader
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Pickpick

Anthony Marta doesn‘t churn out books fast, but this one was equally as good as The Constellation of Vital Phenomenon. Although the time period is WWII, it‘s not your average WWII story. I loved getting the backstory on all the characters. Definitely worth the wait! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Megabooks
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Pickpick

Mercury doesn‘t have the gravitas of his prior books, but this story of immigrants finding their way to a Hollywood film studio during WWII has its own charms. He mostly managed a big balancing act with many MCs and subplots.

Mercury Pictures is trying to become a big-time studio like RKO, but infighting between the two brothers who own it may stop things. However striving young immigrants like Maria, Anna, and Vincent may drive them to the top.

Cinfhen GORGEOUS photo!! I think this will end up being a #BorrowNotBuy for me 3mo
Megabooks @Cinfhen thank you! I‘m kind of curious about the audiobook, but since it was a #botm choice, I didn‘t look into it. 3mo
Megabooks @Cinfhen @BarbaraBB my aunt (the favorite one) had a heart attack this morning. Fortunately it was discovered quickly and a stent was placed. She‘s resting in the hospital now near their second home in Alabama. I‘m just so thankful she‘s alive. I‘ll write a longer update soon. I hope you‘re both okay and enjoying your travels!!! 3mo
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BarbaraBB That must have been such a shock for you! I am relieved to hear she is well taken care of and hope she will be okay soon. I am sorry I still haven‘t written back to you. So busy (and enjoying) xxx @Cinfhen 3mo
Megabooks @BarbaraBB I‘m so glad you‘re having fun and that the typhoon didn‘t cause much damage where you were. I can‘t wait to see more pictures and hear stories when you have time! 😘😘 @Cinfhen 3mo
Cinfhen Thank Gd your aunt is recuperating ❤️‍🩹 I‘m so sorry I‘ve been MIA / I hope to write today - glad you‘re having fun @BarbaraBB xxx miss my two friends 3mo
Megabooks @Cinfhen thanks friend! 💜 I know you‘ve been busy too. I‘m just trying to chill before my trip to Nashville for the CTE tomorrow. I miss you both and our emails so much. @BarbaraBB 3mo
Megabooks I always forget to mention it, but this was my #bookspin @TheAromaofBooks ! I just started my doublespin. Hopefully I‘ll remember to tag you! 3mo
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! I'm with @Cinfhen - I LOVE the way your book matches your flowers!! 3mo
Megabooks @TheAromaofBooks thanks!! 😁😁 3mo
118 likes10 comments
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HeatherBookNerd
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Pickpick

This book follows multiple immigrants that have come to work in Hollywood leading up to WWII. The perspective is interesting, but there are so many tangents off the main story that it gets a bit congested at times. But Marra‘s prose is beautiful and he is effective at creating a rich atmosphere for his characters. I highly recommend the audiobook as the different voices and accents help you follow the multiple characters and storylines.

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marleed
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Mehso-so

I find Hollywood of the 30s and 40s fascinating so I was intrigued by this immigrant story where so many worked on those famed lots in the lead up to the American entry into WWII. I liked the history and the fictional characters had potential. There were just so many characters that I didn‘t think they were written to their full potential. It could make for a great limited series though!

CaitlinR I appreciate the review and the heads up re: flaws. 3mo
marleed @CaitlinR I struggled between a pick and a so-so because I liked quite a bit of it. Ultimately, I went with the so-so because I never settled into the characters . I really can see this as an adapted to screen and I‘d be first in line to watch it. 3mo
Megabooks I‘m halfway in and 💯💯💯💯💯 agree with your review! A disappointment compared to his last two. (edited) 3mo
MrsK I‘ve read several reviews for this and was leaning towards reading it. After reading your review I believe I need to rethink that 🤨. Thanks for the great review! 3mo
82 likes4 comments
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Aims42
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August was another great book month for me! I had so many amazing reads that picking just one wasn‘t easy. I went with “Mercury Pictures Presents”, but this spot could‘ve easily gone to “Palisades Park” by Alan Brennert or “The Roosevelt Women” by Betty Boyd Caroli. Marcellus from “Remarkably Bright Creatures” moves ahead 😍🐙🧡 #ReadingBracket2022 @chasjjlee

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MaureenMc
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Thoughtful, atmospheric exploration of family, love, loyalty, guilt, & redemption focused on foreign emigrés‘ experience in WWII-era Hollywood. Marra is a master of balancing dark stuff with humor. Loved every second of it!
In other news, we adopted a kitten earlier this month! This is Cinderella (Ella). She‘s added much cuteness to our household. ? #Littenkittens

AmyG She is a beauty! And I am happy to hear this book got all the stars. 3mo
LiteraryinLawrence Welcome to Litsy, Ella! 3mo
Prairiegirl_reading Adorable!! 3mo
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IndoorDame She‘s lovely! Congrats!! 3mo
Deblovestoread She‘s adorable! Congrats on your new edition. I‘m also excited about this book. 3mo
mabell A purr-fect name! 😉 Such a cutie! 3mo
Megabooks What a pretty girl!! 🤩🤩 3mo
Cathythoughts Great review! Stacked. Congratulations on your new kitten ♥️ 3mo
DivineDiana Ella is a beauty! 😻 3mo
BookNAround Ella is such a lovely little lady. 3mo
61 likes2 stack adds10 comments
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shawnmooney
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https://youtu.be/wwEe8OPbPCE

VeeLog

Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony Marra

Fieldwork in Ukrainian Sex by Oksana Zabuzhko, Halyna Hryn (Translator)

Something to Answer for by P.H. Newby

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BookBosomed1
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Took myself on a date to my local wine bar. Excited for this new-to-me book. 🍷 🧀 📚 ☮️

wanderinglynn Enjoy! 🍷+📚=😀 4mo
30 likes1 comment
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Aims42
Pickpick

I loved this book! I borrowed a copy from the library, but I‘m going to buy it because this is totally worthy of a re-read. It‘s hard to pick a favorites character because there were quite a few, but that‘s what made me love it 😊 A five star read in my opinion 👍

MaureenMc I‘m currently reading this one, also from the library. Not too far yet, but I‘m already captivated by the language. I just love Marra‘s writing. (edited) 4mo
Aims42 @MaureenMc Yes, his writing totally hooked me too! The way he describes things is just so well done. I haven‘t read his previous works, but I‘m sure tempted after finishing this 👍 I hope it continues to captivate you!! 4mo
MaureenMc @Aims42 I highly recommend his first novel 4mo
Aims42 @MaureenMc Thank you!! Will definitely check this one out 😊 4mo
34 likes4 comments
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KristiAhlers
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Pickpick

This is definitely a book you don‘t want to be distracted whist reading. So many characters and timelines you need to be seriously focused. I love 1940‘s Hollywood and add the historic details that are often skimmed over or outright ignored and you have a solid read. #bookspin @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Yay!!! 4mo
44 likes1 comment
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Aims42
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Today is my last vacation day, so glad ‘Past Amy‘ scheduled it because it‘s been lovely! Grocery shopped this morning, ran some errands for the week ahead and now relaxing outside with my book and the cicadas playing their summer music 🥰

Librariana I love it when past me does things for her future/my present self 😁😊 Hope you're continuing to enjoy your day off! 4mo
Aims42 @Librariana Yes, it seems like past me usually puts things off for future me to take care of (she‘s getting less lazy, but still a work in progress) so this was a major win 😂💕 Thank you for the nice day off wishes!! 4mo
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shawnmooney
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MicheleinPhilly 😂😂😂 4mo
CarolynM 🤣 4mo
30 likes2 comments
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Aims42
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My reading view this morning 🥰😌 Birds are chirping, slight breeze and no stress

Blueberry Lovely 4mo
45 likes1 comment
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JenReadsAlot
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#botm #bookmail on a Monday is the best!

dylanisreading I didn't know Mercury Pictures Presents is a BOTM pick! 4mo
JenReadsAlot @dylanisreading It was an add on pick. 4mo
46 likes2 comments
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BkClubCare
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Starting this because of course I can‘t seem to commit to any one book at the moment…

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Aims42
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I‘m so excited, my copy was ready to pick up!! Stopped at a local coffee shop for lunch and a coffee drink to celebrate 🥳 I feel terrible for not visiting this coffee shop before, it‘s literally a minute walk from my library and it‘s been here for 5 years. A new tradition has been born!

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Aims42
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When the book you‘ve been dying to read since you heard of its existence months ago is sooooo close, yet not in your hands yet. I‘m hoping and praying and wishing it arrives at my library tomorrow so I can pick it up 🤞🙏 #booknerdproblems #littensunderstand

Maria514626 Library tease. 😡 😁 Seriously. Did it stop somewhere for lunch and get distracted or kidnapped? (edited) 4mo
Aims42 @Maria514626 Lol, I love thinking it stopped for lunch 🤣 The libraries in the loaning system are relatively close so…. What‘s up? Hopefully it arrives well fed and well rested 👍 4mo
37 likes2 comments
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Mpcacher
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Pickpick

This is a complicated story with many side plots and numerous characters. I found it a little difficult to follow at times, but also really enjoyed it. It was beautifully written and explored a WWII story that was new to me. This is a book that should be read twice...once for the story and and again to be savored and get all the bits you missed the first time. I loved the ending and gave it 4/5.

Maria514626 Thanks for the recommendation! I still think about the characters in A Constellation of Vital Phenomena — and I read it years ago. 4mo
Mpcacher @Maria514626 Thanks . I have yet to read that one. I will put it on my very long TBR list. 4mo
Maria514626 It is amazing. It will break your heart. 4mo
Mpcacher @Maria514626 I will have my tissues ready. Thanks again. 4mo
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jlhammar
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I really wish I could look at this cover and not have a screaming Kimberly Guilfoyle in my head.

Anyhow, yay for a new issue of BookPage! Includes an interview with Anthony Marra. I loved both A Constellation of Vital Phenomena and The Tsar of Love and Techno so am beyond excited for his newest (tagged) out August 2.

AliD73 OMG, I immediately heard her screeching this in my head as soon as I saw this picture, LOL. 5mo
jlhammar @AliD73 Glad I‘m not the only one! 5mo
MaureenMc I love Anthony Marra! So excited for his next book. 5mo
45 likes3 comments
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shadowspeak17
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There‘s a new book by Anthony Marra coming out this year?! Oh my gosh, I‘m so excited! July 19 can‘t come soon enough. 😄🙌🏽

Blueberry !!! 11mo
33 likes1 comment