7 thoughts on “Overnight – Philip Fracassi

  1. 1.

    “Pete had been around enough shitheads to know a shithead when he saw one,” – yet is Pete to be sucked in by one, I ask? Fracassi is another nifty author who captures rather than captivates his reader. But he does both, of course. Here, Pete, a family man, is security guard on shiftwork at a wayside movie set, with all its gear to protect. He prefers the solitary watch. Not “overtime”, as such, that, we’re told, film companies have to pay when they don’t do the right planning of man-power, no, not overtime, but ‘overnight’. Meanwhile, I promise, no spoilers, here. Just appreciation. No need to be alarmed.

  2. 2.

    “After a while, stars, like other royalty, get used to being treated with kid gloves, and eventually they become kids.”

    Pete, our loving family man, bends rules amid the public’s attention span of celebrities’ lives, and our own attention span, too, watches him agog like baby birds in a nest, and his knowledge of the movie-set site and that “Each trailer had a hide-a-key.” Every worthy work of fiction has one, too. Meanwhile, we want a direct sample of a star, too, such as an author’s signature or saliva in a drink’s dregs. A page-turner, this book, but we are eking it out, against the grain, as it were. Slowly savouring over time, resisting it overnight.

  3. 3.

    “Uh-uh… you’re in the movie, Daddy. Like a movie star.”

    Pete’s young budding artistic daughter talking to him when he is off-duty, as it were. A lesson in what this family man is all about, when away from the Devil’s temptation or pact regarding past objectification of celebrity body-residua, residua cast back into real-time. Appropriate — when Pete is back on duty, at the overnight movie site, a tableau we all contemplate between the words describing it — that, after he daydreams overnight about his own youthful past and a crowbar’s “jimmy”, he is tempted again…this time harvesting a thong not a mug.

    “Part of him felt like he was being watched; another part of him felt like he was watching himself,…”

  4. 4.

    “The shower couldn’t get hot enough, and he stayed under the beating water ten minutes longer than usual, hoping to feel refreshed, hoping to feel himself again.”

    Amid deceptively simple, compelling narrative, of the wear and tear of family life’s accoutrements and Pete’s temptation of dilemma at work, this chapter makes me think that this book is about the ultimate Reliquary — one’s own vulnerable, unnerving body as a gestalt not as the piecemeal relics and other used or leaking accoutrements of self. Whatever one’s susceptibilities to celebrity. Straddling the night.

  5. 5.

    “Did you follow my rules? I swear to god,…”

    All formal religions — if not exactly like the cult of Hollywood, HOLLYwood depicted in these pages, but like Christianity and its Eucharist, like any belief in a Revelation or the Reliquary as the embodiment of its Star, indeed any belief in sacrifice as a way to Heaven — all have rules of sorts. On another level, this is a compelling character-driven narrative, with a manic dread and hindsight inevitability. Tell you more, and you will risk seeing below the movie set’s fabrication, I guess. Instead of the suspended disbelief of faith? Fundamentally, though, it is arguable that this book is not about religion at all! Or does not wish to be revealed as such.

    • 6.

      “But you have to get past the guilt.”

      Pete’s wife says that to him, their daughter a shared loved one. But to get past the guilt, one needs to get past the silver screen as an object-correlative, then into what sits behind it. As a coda or epilogue to the book, this chapter now represents, for me, the bespoke religion, as all formal religions are bound to become for each maturing individual, whether bespoke as fiction or truth. It also represents that manic dread now become real in real-time, an absurdist gestalt, a fine nightmarish finale to the action that makes you think about this book perhaps even more adventurously than I hoped to make you think about it. Fracassi has seen through the likes of me, perhaps. He has got past the guilt, got past not only the screen but also my dreamcatching behind it. Meanwhile, this physical Book of Holy Pete (holy as holism or gestalt) is designed like a heavy-duty prayer missal. I almost believe I shall now finger, if not lick, the relic of its author on the title page’s label! But whatever your own views, it is a great compelling read, about a family man in a manic dilemma of temptation.

      end

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