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Night for Day Reviews

Night for Day by Patrick Flanery (Author)

Night for Day

Patrick Flanery (Author)

3.13 out of 5

4 reviews

Imprint: Atlantic Books
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Publication date: 22 Aug 2019
ISBN: 9781782396055

A feverish vision of McCarthy-era Hollywood...

4 stars out of 5
10 Dec 2019

"It is Flanery’s funniest and most entertainingly melodramatic novel. "

This may make Night for Day sound sombre and polemical. It isn’t. It is Flanery’s funniest and most entertainingly melodramatic novel. As with his earlier efforts, it is full of metadiegetic material. There’s the screenplay Desmond and his director have written for the movie Myles is starring in, Flanery having good fun with film noir conventions. When the hero’s estranged wife suggests he’d be better off leaving her, he tells her he doesn’t want to go. “Maybe you don’t know what’s good for you”, his wife replies. “Maybe I like what’s bad for me” is his classic rejoinder.


3 stars out of 5
Erica Wagner
30 Aug 2019

"The past haunts the present in a multi-layered narrative centred on the film industry and themes of betrayal"

It is, however, somewhat too accurate in its noirish B-movie sensibility to be wholly satisfying. What might work on screen can feel clunky on the page. That said, the multilayered narratives build a claustrophobic sense of a time in which the choice to speak the truth about oneself required extraordinary courage and came at great risk. If the novel’s denouement is unsurprising, that’s the point: the characters are trapped by their circumstances. Reflecting on his past, Frank calls the US “nothing but a nation of the unequal led by people who think they are prophets, that’s what this country has always been”.

3 stars out of 5
Phil Baker
18 Aug 2019

"Flanery’s ambitious novel rakes over the McCarthy era."

Taking 672 pages to unpack a moment in 1950, Flanery’s ambitious novel rakes over the McCarthy era...

Flanery’s hefty novel is craftsmanlike but somewhat over-egged, not only giving America’s political, sexual and racial issues an airing but also including the Orpheus film script, letters, Mary on the analyst’s couch, and more. Like Desmond, Flanery (widely praised for his first novel Absolution) is an American who has chosen to live abroad, teaching creative writing in London, and given his unsavoury picture of American bigotry you can’t blame him.

3 stars out of 5
Stephanie Cross
15 Aug 2019

"Flanery has clearly had enormous fun "

Hollywood’s Fifties Communist witch-hunt is the backdrop for this extensively researched doorstopper, the themes of which — freedom of expression versus fear and persecution — have undisguised contemporary relevance...

That single point of focus, in a novel this length, makes for a considerable amount of portentousness, and things at times feel a little laboured. But parallel narratives inject brio, and Flanery has clearly had enormous fun imagining the script of one of Desmond’s slangy noirs (not to mention the censor’s increasingly ludicrous objections).