“Delaney[‘s] splendid fictional biography of Cary Grant . . . perfectly befits the glamour and fakery of his subject.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Everyone wants to be Cary Grant,” mused the world’s most famous leading man. Even I want to be Cary Grant.”
It’s 1959, and the 55-year-old man who calls himself Cary Grant is at the peak of a charmed career. He’s also on a turbulent journey to find the core of a self he hardly seems to know anymore. Introduced to the wonder drug LSD as part of his therapy at The Psychiatric Institute of Beverly Hills, he embarks on upward of one hundred psychedelic trips—at times harrowing journeys. And on the way, he rediscovers the long-ago boy who faced the world as Archie Leach, the earnest, gap-toothed stilt walker and tumbler he once was, long ago.
In The Acrobat, fiction writer Edward J. Delaney takes on the elusive character of Cary Grant. He imagines the inner life of a man who spent a career brilliantly creating a persona as ethereal as his best roles. As Grant launches on LSD-fueled trajectories of discovery, The Acrobat likewise transports readers through his fractured upbringing, his start in English vaudeville, his life on the Hollywood sets, and his relationships with fellow travelers prominent in his life: Howard Hughes, Randolph Scott, Blake Edwards, Tony Curtis, two of the five women he married, and more. Amid the endless versions of himself and the characters he’s played, he yearns to shape himself into something singular, forged from the layers of illusion he’s smilingly foisted on the world, and for which the world has come to love him. This riveting dramatization of the actor’s life takes us beyond the firm terrain that biographies tread, to offer a new perspective on a complex Hollywood legend.
"Delaney writes simply and beautifully about Grant . . . crafting a character who's essentially character-less. [H]e's sensitive to how . . . masks change, how hard they are to remove."
—Mark Athitakis, Los Angeles Times
“Imagination meets biography in this novel about Cary Grant. . . . Grant’s life is not the happily-ever-after film where hero and heroine kiss as the credits roll. Instead he is alone and frightened, desperate to be seen, to be heard, to be loved. . . . A beautifully imagined, sympathetic portrait of a flawed icon.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“[A] splendid fictional biography of Cary Grant, charting the film star’s path toward an ‘endless conundrum of fame.’. . . Delaney vividly captures the intoxicating and toxic fumes of Hollywood, where ‘egos go to be crushed,’ and presents an alluring amalgam of fact and fiction. Breezy and entertaining, Delaney’s portrait perfectly befits the glamour and fakery of his subject.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The intermingling of fiction with truth captures the essence of Grant as a Hollywood leading man, but also as just a man, with foibles, hopes, and fears. The Acrobat is an artistic biographical novel about one of the greatest actors of all time.”
“A book for biography fans, for literary fiction fans, for movie fans, The Acrobat matches its graceful, stylish subject in style and grace. Delaney has both captured a man we know and given us a character by whom we are constantly surprised.” —Darin Strauss, author of The Queen of Tuesday: A Lucille Ball Story