Thursday, July 17, 2014

"The Stager"

Susan Coll is the author of the novels The Stager, Beach Week, Acceptance, Rockville Pike, and

Her work has appeared in the Washington Post,, and a variety of other publications including The Asian Wall Street Journal and the International Herald Tribune. Acceptance was made into a television movie starring the hilarious Joan Cusack.

Coll applied the Page 69 Test to The Stager and reported the following:
I love the page 69 test, and have taken it several times now. It always seems to work---or maybe it’s simply the case that every page of every book contains critical book DNA.

Lars Jorgenson is a former tennis star who has become obese, depressed, and addicted to a cocktail of prescription drugs. In the scene on page 69 he is lying in bed in his London hotel room, but he is, at the same time, inside his wife’s head. He knows her thoughts and he can hear the conversation in the room even though he is not actually there. He is devastated to learn he has not been invited to the dinner party.

“Why, for the love of God, am I privy to all this private chatter?” he asks at the top of the page.

This is an important question, and one that speaks to a key plot point in the novel. In fact this entire page contains three critical strands of the novel:

1. Lars is beginning to figure out that he has developed an omniscient point of view, which a few pages later he will discover is the side effect of mixing too many medications containing the letters X and Z.

2. Lars gets out of bed and draws the curtains to block out the light, even though it is already dark outside. Lars’s obsession with the light is an important theme throughout the novel.

3. Lars has become obsessed with Jorek, the Polish handyman who is helping to install a skylight in the new London home that does not have enough light.

The only thing missing on this page is the rabbit, but he is arguably there in spirit.
Learn more about the book and author at Susan Coll's website.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Susan Coll & Zoe.

The Page 69 Test: Acceptance.

The Page 69 Test: Beach Week.

--Marshal Zeringue