Garbo Laughs

Front Cover
McClelland & Stewart, 2003 - Alienation (Social psychology) - 375 pages
A Globe and Mail Notable Book of the Year
A Quill & Quire Top Five Canadian Fiction Book of the Year
A Maclean’s Top Ten Book of the Year


Elizabeth Hay’s runaway national bestseller is a funny, sad-eyed, deliciously entertaining novel about a woman caught in a tug of war between real life and the films of the past. Inflamed by the movies she was deprived of as a child, Harriet Browning forms a Friday-night movie club with three companions-of-the-screen: a boy who loves Frank Sinatra, a girl with Bette Davis eyes, and an earthy sidekick named after Dinah Shore. Into this idiosyncratic world, in time with the devastating ice storm of 1998, come two refugees from Hollywood: Harriet’s Aunt Leah, the jaded widow of a screenwriter blacklisted in the 1950s, and her sardonic, often overbearing stepson, Jack. They bring harsh reality and illuminate the pull of family and friendship, the sting of infidelity and revenge, the shock of illness and sudden loss. Poignant, brilliant, and delightfully droll, Garbo Laughs reveals how the dramas of everyday life are sometimes the most astonishing of all.


From the Hardcover edition.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - RandyMetcalfe - LibraryThing

Elizabeth Hay introduces her novel with an epigraph from legendary film critic, Pauline Kael: “We will never know the extent of the damage that movies are doing to us.” That brilliantly sets the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - chicapeligrosa - LibraryThing

I did enjoy the story very much but found the flipping around from one POV to the next a bit confusing at first (especially without any significant separation in the text). Sometimes it wasn't clear ... Read full review

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About the author (2003)

Elizabeth Hay was born in Owen Sound, Ontario in 1951. She attended Victoria College, University of Toronto. After graduation, Hay worked for CBC radio in Yellowknife, Winnipeg and Toronto, as a host, interviewer, and documentary maker, especially for "Sunday Morning." She also taught creative writing at New York University and the University of Ottawa. Hay won the award for Fiction Gold from the National Magazine Awards in 1995. She was Co-winner of the Western Magazine Award for fiction in 1995 and won 2nd prize in the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction, for The Only Snow in Havana in 1993.

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