A Thousand and One Nights
presents us with a compelling tour of the ersatz, dismally funny, and faintly depressing world of the third tier entertainer: a tour thatís beautifully understated in its emotional intelligence, and wry and clear-eyed and psychologically astute in its portrait of a young couple for whom getting through the day means not facing whatís missing, whether from their act or their relationship. This is a moving and accomplished first novel.
--Jim Shepard, Project X, Love and Hydrogen
Lara Tupper has written an intriguing, often funny, and richly atmospheric novel that follows a young, hipper-than-that couple singing their same-old songs on cruise ships and in the luxury hotels of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Shanghai. It is sharply observed, fresh and authentic in its vision, poignant in its depiction of a coupleís willed faÁade, and great fun to read. Its keen-eyed view of the strange and cushioned world of entertainers makes for a one-of-a-kind book, fascinating and honest.
--Joan Silber, 2004 National Book Award nominee, Ideas of Heaven
Lara Tupper's first novel is music to the ear. It's travel, too, full of dark corners and poignant wit, a rich international coming of age, boozy nights and friendship, love. And Tupper is a kind of women's Rick Moody, her heroine more or less enslaved on a cruise ship, singing in too heavy dresses, always making her way home.
--Bill Roorbach, Temple Stream, Big Bend, The Smallest Color
Lara Tupperís debut novel... is an enchanting tale of disenchantment--both candid exposť, and quest for a truer self. It draws us into the life of Karla, a hopeful, fresh-out-of-school singer, as she enters the bizarre twilight zone of international hotel entertainment: four hours a night, six nights a week, in cocktail lounges from Abu Dhabi to Shanghai. An easy life, her British partner persuades her. But while he slides through it all on booze, itís for Karla to experience the full mind-warping effects of a thousand and one nights (give or take) belting out Candle in the Wind
and My Heart Will Go On.
The problem of living even half-honestly in a world of routine cheating and of faked performance is a real one, and gives [this novel] its vital center. Lara Tupper is a writer of many gifts, with a terrific story to tell.
--Judith Grossman, What Aliens Think
A Thousand and One Nights
lays bare the hopes and hearts of twenty-somethings yearning for success, adventure and love, and coming up just a little shy on all three counts. Their yearning is palpable, and Lara Tupper skillfully delineates their sadness and desires as they play out on three continents and in a host of less-romantic-than-they-initially-seemed exotic locales. A moving account of finding yourself amid the detritus of your dreams.
--CJ Hribal, The Company Car