Saturday, April 13, 2024

James Franco’s Short Story Collection: Good Reviews on Pub Day


James Franco should be happy today.

His collection of short stories, called “Palo Alto,” is published officially today by Scribner/Simon & Schuster. And guess what? It’s gotten pretty good reviews.

While some reviewers have taken swipes–who can’t resist taking a swing at a movie star/PhD candidate/aspiring writer?–most have concentrated on Franco’s writing and the stories themselves.

Some samples: USA Today: “Franco writes with such deep empathy and affinity that one has to wonder if he lived this life.”
New York Times Book Review: “[Franco] ends up perfectly mirroring the undulations of a teenage mind… Franco has a talent for viscerally evoking danger.” “You’ll be able to pick out Franco’s influences: Raymond Carver’s tight-lipped stoicism; the sun-streaked disaffection of  Less Than Zero… Hubert Selby Jr.’s Last Exit to Brooklyn…. Franco can be a wag when he permits himself, and he excels at dialogue.” “Delightfully coarse, riffing dialogue that hones in on subjects like race and sex, love and violence… Compelling and gutsy.” “[Franco] can indeed write… He shows surprising talent… Franco is working the same nihilistic territory as writers like Bret Easton Ellis or filmmakers like Larry Clark.”

Franco also got very good reviews from Kirkus, Booklist and the trade reviewers. Who didn’t like it? The San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Press, so far. (I didn’t even know the New York Press still published.)

Tomorrow night, Franco reads aloud from “Palo Alto” at the Barnes & Noble on Warren Street at 8pm. I’d say, get there early.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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