Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures
The enchanting story of a Midwestern girl who escapes a family tragedy and is remade as a movie star during Hollywood’s golden age.
“Emma Straub’s beautifully observed first novel explores the fraught trajectory of what has become a staple of the American dream: the hunger for stardom and fame. Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures affords an intimate, epic view of how that dream ricochets through one American life.” –Jennifer Egan, author of A Visit from the Goon Squad
“Emma Straub is a magician, full of brilliance and surprise.” –Lorrie Moore, bestselling author of A Gate at the Stairs
In 1920, Elsa Emerson, the youngest and blondest of three sisters, is born in idyllic Door County, Wisconsin. Her family owns the Cherry County Playhouse, and more than anything, Elsa relishes appearing onstage, where she soaks up the approval of her father and the embrace of the audience. But when tragedy strikes her family, her acting becomes more than a child’s game of pretend.
While still in her teens, Elsa marries and flees to Los Angeles. There she is discovered by Irving Green, one of the most powerful executives in Hollywood, who refashions her as a serious, exotic brunette and renames her Laura Lamont. Irving becomes Laura’s great love; she becomes an Academy Award-winning actress—and a genuine movie star. Laura experiences all the glamour and extravagance of the heady pinnacle of stardom in the studio-system era, but ultimately her story is a timeless one of a woman trying to balance career, family, and personal happiness, all while remaining true to herself.
Ambitious and richly imagined, Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures is as intimate—and as bigger-than-life—as the great films of the golden age of Hollywood. Written with warmth and verve, it confirms Emma Straub’s reputation as one of the most exciting new talents in fiction.
Emma Straub is from New York City. Her fiction and nonfiction have been published byTin House, The Paris Review Daily, Slate, and Cousin Corinne’s Reminder. She is a staff writer for Rookie. Emma lives with her husband in Brooklyn, where she also works as a bookseller.