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Third Act: A Novel of Buster Keaton


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Third Act: A Novel of Buster Keaton is a nostalgic take on the silent film star's comeback.

(3.5) - Third Act: A Novel of Buster Keaton takes us back to the good old days of Hollywood... or were they? What many of us think of as the Golden Age of Hollywood was at one point considered to be the modernization of motion pictures. Buster Keaton, a once-renowned silent film star, isn't quite sure where he belongs in the age of talkies and technicolor.


The book is told from two points of view, Buster's and Eleanor Norris'. In the first two chapters, we get some backstory about each of their performing backgrounds growing up in show business. As Eleanor states at one point, it was strange for her to think of anyone not being involved with some element of performing.


After the backstories, the beginning of the book shows more of them in their different places in Hollywood as adults, most notably Eleanor's involvement in The Wizard of Oz. It's on that set she meets Buster Keaton. From there, we follow their relationship both professionally and personally.


I learned a lot from reading this book. Though I do consider myself on some level to be an Old Hollywood junkie, I'm not super well acquainted with silent films or their performers. I do know Buster Keaton by name and can recognize a few of his film titles and famous scenes if quizzed on them, but I didn't know anything about him outside of some clips or the fact a lot of his films had once been deemed lost.


Personally, I would have enjoyed a story like this more if it were told in the third-person point of view. Buster and Eleanor are wonderful personalities to read about, I just found myself struggling to deeply connect given they were real-life entities. I'll deem this a 'me' issue, though. The book is quite engaging, though it was a slow build-up which had me feeling impatient to get to the heart of the story. My last quip is that there was a lot of name-dropping. Not many of them had much (if any) relevance to the story and it was redundant after a while.


If you're a fan of silent films, the classics, and Old Hollywood in general, I definitely recommend this book. It made me want to properly watch one of Buster Keaton's films. It's fun, nostalgic, and informative.

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I'm an avid reader of historical fiction, thrillers, and literary fiction. I also enjoy non-fiction primarily involving history and science. The subjects I read are all over the map as I enjoy diverse range of topics and characters. I'm always up for trying something new and unfamiliar.

Chapter One - Buster -

About the author

Kevin Mori is filmmaker and writer based in Tokyo. He directed the feature-length documentary Live House about the underground punk scene in Japan. He studied screenwriting and fiction writing in UCLA’s Writers Program and literature at Washington University. Third Act is his first novel. view profile

Published on October 01, 2022

80000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Historical Fiction

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