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.
Edward J. Delaney is an award-winning author, journalist, and filmmaker. His books include the novels Follow the Sun, Broken Irish, and Warp & Weft, and the short story collection The Drowning and Other Stories. His short fiction has also been published in the Atlantic and Best American Short Stories, and featured on PRI's Selected Shorts program. Among other honors, he has received the PEN/New England Award, O. Henry Prize, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. He is also the co-author of Born to Play, by Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. As a journalist, Delaney has written for publications including the Denver Post and Chicago Tribune, received the National Education Reporting Award, and has served as an editor at the Neiman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. As a filmmaker, he has directed and produced documentary films including The Times Were Never So Bad: The Life of Andre Dubus and Library of the Early Mind.
Born and raised in Massachusetts, Delaney has also spent time in Georgia, Florida, and Colorado, and now lives in Rhode Island, where he teaches at Roger Williams University and edits the literary journal Mount Hope.
"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)
“As well as being historically interesting, Delaney’s novel is topical because it sheds light on the current 'psychedelic renaissance' of the past 15 years. . . . [It] asks the contemporary reader, Can we learn something from Cary Grant’s cathartic trips? . . . Delaney's prose captures the elasticity of expanded consciousness but also the unpredictable and surreal moments that inevitably transpire.”—James Penner, Los Angeles Review of Books
“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.”—Foreword Reviews
“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