Rewarding and uplifting. Connolly has stepped outside the crime genre to publish a literary novel of real merit.
John Connolly has skilfully recreated the unseen side of a perceived golden age and yet it is also a compassionate study of the tensions between commercial demands and popularity and the almost unattainable artistic integrity gifted people destroy themselves in pursuit of; for all that it is no less a love letter to one of the most enduring and beloved partnerships in cinema history.
An invaluable feel for a period and a fascinating, if awkward personality. Writing the story as a novel rather than just a straight biography gives the tale an extra layer of humanity and reality.
John Connolly's new book is a fascinating look at the Golden Age of Hollywood through the eyes of one of the finest comedians ever to grace the silver screen. This is a book full of history, full of sadness and joy, replete with fascinating characters. Connolly's greatest achievement here is that he makes you forget that this is fiction, that this comes from his imagination. Connolly makes you believe that this is what Stan Laurel must have been like because it is a book that speaks true. I applaud him for that. Read it now.
This is a book about love: love of women, love of men, love of art, love of comedy . . . What catapults the reader straight into Hollywood's Golden Age is the enormous amount of research and passion that lies behind He. When those researched details coalesce, a world of Dickens-like detail leaps off the page.
A fine novel.
An entertaining account of early 20th-century celebrity
It's not often you get an evocation of a friendship so deep and tender between two men in fiction . . . A wonderful story of love, of an abiding loyalty.
The life and art of Stan Laurel, from vaudeville and silent movies to the talkies and old age, is explored in this artful novel . . . It's the best tribute to this novel that by the end of it you feel you have been given the full texture of a life.
Fans of Connolly will be awed at this new literary work in a very different voice
Part-biography, part-cinema history, part-Hollywood gossip columns . . . the ingredients all stirred dexterously together by a highly - even bizarrely - individual narrative hand . . . Wildly original in its methods, it is addictively readable in its outcome