Mercury Pictures Presents: A Novel (Paperback)

Mercury Pictures Presents: A Novel By Anthony Marra Cover Image
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August 2022 Indie Next List

Mercury Pictures Presents is an utterly satisfying novel, full of rich characters and a beautifully choreographed plot told with wry humor, great love, and writing so smart you’ll want to underline every paragraph. Read it!”
— Kris Kleindienst, Left Bank Books, St. Louis, MO


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Includes a behind-the-scenes conversation with bestselling novelist Amor Towles • The epic story of a brilliant woman who must reinvent herself to survive in 1940s Hollywood and fascist Europe, a timeless tale of love, deceit, and sacrifice—and a perfect book club pick—from the award-winning author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

“A genuinely moving and life-affirming novel that’s a true joy to read.”—Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere

“A gorgeous book . . . sublime.”—The New York Times (Editors’ Choice)


Like many before her, Maria Lagana has come to Hollywood to outrun her past. Born in Rome, where every Sunday her father took her to the cinema instead of church, Maria immigrates with her mother to Los Angeles after a childhood transgression leads to her father’s arrest.

Fifteen years later, on the eve of America’s entry into World War II, Maria is an associate producer at Mercury Pictures, trying to keep her personal and professional lives from falling apart. Her mother won’t speak to her. Her boss, a man of many toupees, has been summoned to Washington by congressional investigators. Her boyfriend, a virtuoso Chinese American actor, can’t escape the studio’s narrow typecasting. And the studio itself, Maria’s only home in exile, teeters on the verge of bankruptcy.

Over the coming months, as the bright lights go dark across Los Angeles, Mercury Pictures becomes a nexus of European émigrés: modernist poets trying their luck as B-movie screenwriters, once-celebrated architects becoming scale-model miniaturists, and refugee actors finding work playing the very villains they fled. While the world descends into war, Maria rises through a maze of conflicting politics, divided loyalties, and jockeying ambitions. But when the arrival of a stranger from her father’s past threatens Maria’s carefully constructed facade, she must finally confront her father’s fate—and her own.

Written with intelligence, wit, and an exhilarating sense of possibility, Mercury Pictures Presents spans many moods and tones, from the heartbreaking to the ecstatic. It is a love letter to life’s bit players, a panorama of an era that casts a long shadow over our own, and a tour de force by a novelist whose work The Washington Post calls “a flash in the heavens that makes you look up and believe in miracles.”

About the Author

Anthony Marra is the New York Times bestselling author of The Tsar of Love and Techno and A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, winner of the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and longlisted for the National Book Award.

Praise For…

“A gorgeous book . . . sublime.”The New York Times (Editors’ Choice)

“With Mercury Pictures Presents [Marra] cements himself as one of the most deft and most enjoyable novelists working today. . . . I could go on for pages about my admiration for Marra’s technique and execution . . . but what I most recall is the general warmth of feeling every time I . . . spent time in that world.”Chicago Tribune

“Epically entertaining  . . . You’ll laugh, you’ll cry in the marvelous Mercury Pictures Presents.”San Francisco Chronicle

“So much old-time snappy wit that Mercury Pictures Presents should come with popcorn and a 78-ounce Coke.”—Ron Charles, The Washington Post

“Marra returns with a sprawling story that ushers readers through the streets of pre-World War II Rome. . . . But as compelling as the story and characters are, the real star is the writing. Marra’s ability to capture and render both the joy and pain of life . . . remains unmatched.”—NPR

“Crackling with wit . . . Marra’s new novel is as epic in sweep as a movie set yet delineates the inner workings of the human heart with a miniaturist’s precision. Mercury Pictures Presents explores the endless give-and-take between life and art, the cost of integrity, and the ways we must make peace with the past in order to move toward the future.”—Celeste Ng

“Marra has been compared to Nabokov, Kafka, and Orwell. The word 'brilliant' gets used in all his reviews. Mercury Pictures Presents is a great literary read.”—Ann Patchett

“Funny, verbally inventive and, ultimately, very moving, Mercury Pictures Presents is a wonderful novel.”Sunday Times UK, Book of the Month

“Marra has ascended to the top of the literary ranks.”Booklist (starred review)

“Intimate and sweeping, heartfelt and satirical, one of the funniest and most moving novels I’ve read in a long time.”—Jess Walter

Mercury Pictures Presents has all the breadth and power of an epic and the attention to detail of an intimate conversation. I read it in a state of admiration for the beauty Marra has wrung from the English language.”—Sara Nović

“A novel so rich and wondrous . . . that there’s only one word for Anthony Marra: genius.”—Sally Mann

“A writer of boundless talent. . . . A singularly pleasurable read—smart, sad, hilarious, and always full of heart.”—Nathan Hill

“Achingly beautiful . . . You laugh, then you sigh, then you weep.”—Luis Alberto Urrea

“I laughed aloud many times, even as I marveled.”—Aimee Bender

“An energetic, wildly comical tale . . . Amid all the action and plot twists, it's also a serious examination of immigration and xenophobia, identity and impersonation, and art, propaganda and censorship.”BookPage

Product Details
ISBN: 9780451495211
ISBN-10: 0451495217
Publisher: Hogarth
Publication Date: June 27th, 2023
Pages: 448
Language: English