Monday, May 18, 2020

"The Resolutions"

Brady Hammes lives in Los Angeles by way of Colorado and Iowa. His short stories have appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Guernica, The Rattling Wall, and Harper Perennial’s Forty Stories Anthology. His debut novel The Resolutions is now out from Ballantine/Random House.

He’s also an Emmy-Award winning documentary film editor whose most recent project, Tom vs. Time - about NFL quarterback Tom Brady - won a 2018 Sports Emmy. Before that, he edited the feature film Social Animals, which had its world premiere at the 2018 SXSW film festival.

Hammes applied the Page 69 Test to The Resolutions and reported the following:
From page 69:
The winter production of Long Day’s Journey was a first for the theater, considerably darker than most of their previous work, feel-good puff like Annie or The Sunshine Boys. Mariana was worried it might be a struggle to draw the kind of crowds needed to square the bank account, which was why his involvement was so crucial. At least she’d have a name to hang on the marquee, though Gavin doubted many of the town’s residents would recognize a part-time player from a recently canceled show on a second-tier cable network. He’d done some research online, and for a community theater it seemed reputable enough; lots of poorly photographed headshots of the principal actors, a calendar of events with links to future productions. There was even a write-up in the Albuquerque Tribune, the theater critic calling a recent production of Our Town delightfully unexpected, praising Mariana’s empathetic direction. And if it were terrible, he’d find some excuse for why he couldn’t return after the holidays, though his conversation with Mariana gave him hope that it might be pretty good, certainly more satisfying than his previous role as an executive assistant with dreams of becoming a folk singer.

He passed into central Arizona, the sun setting behind him, a collection of clouds building up ahead. He was a hundred miles from Flagstaff, where he planned to treat himself to a beer and a nice dinner. Before the trip, he imagined stopping at roadside diners, chatting with locals and documenting his journey through photographs, but thus far his only meal was at the Jack in the Box in Needles, California, where he ate a hamburger while watching a Styrofoam cup blow across an empty parking lot.
Gavin, a fledgling actor in Los Angeles, is driving from LA to New Mexico to take part in a community theater production after his television show is cancelled. He’s at a crossroads in his life, and he’s desperate for some kind of creative fulfillment. I’m not sure this page is a great representation of the novel because one might assume this theater production is somehow central to the story, whereas it’s just a passing moment in his life. He ends up leaving the production after a falling out with the director, then makes his way back to Chicago, where he reunites with his siblings. However, the second paragraph does give a glimpse into his emotional state, which is one of disillusionment and loneliness, and those ideas are central to his story. So I'd say that narratively this probably isn’t terribly accurate, though it does hint at the character’s emotional state.
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--Marshal Zeringue