Friday, December 29, 2006

THE DISSIDENT by Nell Freudenberger (2006)

A performance artist and political activist from Beijing accepts a post as an art instructor at an all girls' boarding school in L.A. He is hosted by the Travers family: Cece, Gordon (her psychiatrist husband), Olivia (their anorexic dancing daughter) and Max (their son who has survived an attempted suicide--or so they think). Gordon's siblings breeze in and out as well--Joan, the novelist and Phil, the playwright who has optioned his play about a man who has an affair with his brother's wife to a Hollywood studio.

As the dissident becomes increasingly entangled in the family's life, Freudenberger reveals secret upon secret from his past.

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