A Way of Life, Like Any Other

Darcy O'Brien (Author) Seamus Heaney (Introduction by)

Product Details

New York Review of Books
Publish Date
August 31, 2001
5.0 X 8.01 X 0.48 inches | 0.4 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Darcy O'Brien (1939-1998) was born in Los Angeles, the son of the movie stars George O'Brien and Marguerite Churchill. He attended Princeton and the University of California, Berkeley, and taught at the University of Tulsa. O'Brien's first novel, A Way of Life, Like Any Other, won the PEN/Hemingway award. His books include the novels The Silver Spooner and Margaret in Hollywood, critical studies of James Joyce and Patrick Kavanagh, and several other works of nonfiction, among themTwo of a Kind: The Hillside Stranglers and The Hidden Pope.

Seamus Heaney's first poetry collection, Death of a Naturalist, appeared forty years ago. Since then he has published poetry, criticism, and translations that have established him as one of the leading poets of his generation. In 1995 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.


"[A] little gem of a novel...a masterwork of Hollywood fiction." -- Salon

"A hysterically funny coming--of--age story set in Hollywood in the '40s...a kind of Catcher in the Rye for the Cheap Trick generation." -- GQ

"How is it that this minor comic masterpiece could ever have gone out of print? Darcy O'Brien's 1977 novel...takes us into an alien culture, Hollywood in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and evokes that kitschy world with spectacularly deadpan humor." -- Michael Dirda, The Atlantic Monthly

"A hilarious addition to the fabulous Hollywood novel, this time laconic, understated, deadpan, ruthlessly cutting from scene to scene and character to character, and both witty and moving. I enjoyed it enormously, and recommend it unreservedly as a funny, serious, literate, and intelligent book." -- The Guardian

"It is the real thing....It's bound to go like a greyhound, fast and fine." -- Seamus Heaney

"This novel's teen--age hero, a kind of West Coast Holden Caulfield, tells of his surreal coming of age in Hollywood as the son of a former cowboy star and a faded actress. When their marriage breaks up, he bounces around town trying to find his bearings, with results both farcical and serious." -- Press-Telegram

"O'Brien's storytelling voice is at once eminently sensible and attuned to absurdity; he sees what's amusing in his world without rendering it as caricature....A Way of Life, Like Any Other takes the same sane, amused attitude to the hyperbolic reality that is Hollywood. Like an infinitely slyer Margaret Mead, O'Brien shows us the culture he grew up in, and living up to his title, helps us understand how this way of life is like any other -- sort of, anyway." -- John Powers, LA Weekly, Best L.A. Novel

"Spawned by a pair of movie stars from Hollywood's golden age, the unnamed boy narrator of this indirect and vinegary little book wonders: Was there ever so pampered an ass as mine?" -- Kirkus Reviews