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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Reel Life in Larry Baker's 'Love and Other Delusions'

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Imagine yourself as a character in a movie produced and directed by you, a movie set to music of your choosing and a cast of supporting actors selected to support your imaginings. You are Alice, “The Star,” wearing white while being washed in blue light somewhere on a stage in a theater in St. Augustine, Fla. You perceive your life as damn swell. Your patient husband, Pete, and your much younger lover, Danny, will, when “The End” credits roll, wrap it all in the happily-ever-after script you've written in your head.

Wake up, Alice. It's Kathy, your therapist, speaking. She has a part to play, and it's not pretty. The Prince of Darkness waits to be cued, determined (as fate would have it) to have the final word. Death will do that. And so goes the 171-page tale of Love and Other Delusions, written by Larry Baker, an Iowa City-based writer who, like Alice, “loves the movies.” It's all there in black and white, with deadly emails filling in for revolvers. Seeking hot sex? Danny and Alice rack up 100 encounters here, there and everywhere.

The wily Baker kept me waiting until the chapter titled “A” (Foreplay), and then hit me over the head with a scene that reminded me of Now, Voyager. Alice speaks from the stage of the theater: “Oh, Danny, I can see the stars.” Before the story ends, she sees quite a bit more than stars. I think the best flicks are those that unreel in our heads forever, and, well, Love and Other Delusions might make a great movie. An earlier movie-themed Baker novel, The Flamingo Rising, became a Hallmark movie in 2001.

Baker will read from Love and Other Delusions on June 15 at Next Chapter Bookshop, 10976 N. Port Washington Road, Mequon.
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