With echoes of Sunset Boulevard, Michelle Berry’s Blur brings the warped world of Hollywood stardom into lurid focus. Tabloid reporter Bruce Dermott has been waiting seven long years for his moment in the sun when he strikes pay dirt in Emma Fine. Emma, a former Hollywood starlet, has been out of the spotlight for years after her lover was found dead in her swimming pool. As Bruce digs deeper he discovers lives twisted and misshapen by jealousy, obsession, and narcissism, lives we crave to hear about today more than ever.
- - A pacy, noirish, fractured echo of Sunset Boulevard, Michelle Berry’s Blur is pulp fiction written with a postmodern hand. —Andrew Pyper
- - There is an Atom Egoyan-esque quality to her writing … Berry’s fine writing shows that she understands the space between the words can be important and that what is implied speaks volumes. —National Post
- - Berry’s style is to die for—it’s cool and confident, with a kind of wary watchfulness that echoes her protagonist’s personality. —Quill and Quire
- - Blur offers a twisted tribute to the compulsive grass-is-always-greener comparisons we make between our lives and those of the glitterati. —Chatelaine
- - Berry skilfully keeps you guessing—and more importantly, keeps you caring—right to the finish. —The Vancouver Sun
- - Hip, cool and written in the present tense ... A good read with a substantial twist in the tale. —South Wales Argus
- - Chic, sleek Hollywood murder mystery, shaped like a screenplay and emanating that bruised nostalgic mood of late-night movies … Infinitely seductive. —Literary Review
Suggested Book Club Questions for Blur
- Who killed Ted Weaver and is it important that we find out or is the novel about something else?
- What does this novel tell us about the consequences of fame?
- What are the differences between a literary thriller and a regular thriller?
- Discuss the effectiveness of including the extra pieces, like the trial transcripts and the descriptions of photographs and the news reports, in the understand of the story. Does the layering of these extra pieces create a picture that is more fulfilling to the reader than if the novel was written just with the story and nothing else?
- What do you think of the secondary characters – Maria, the maid and Dan, the chauffeur?
- Is Bruce's story more or less important than Emma Fine's story? How does each story effect the other?
- Beginning Blur with a dead body in a pool is reminiscent of the movie, “Sunset Boulevard.” What other themes in Blur reflect back to this movie?
- Emma Fine's preoccupation with appearances is part of Hollywood (and California) culture. Discuss.
- Bruce's son tells his father he is gay. How does this relate to the Emma Fine story?
- Do you think Ted Weaver is, at any time, in love with Emma Fine? Or is he just out to get her money?
Michelle Berry has been widely published in many Canadian literary magazines, national newspapers, and anthologies. She is the author of seven books of fiction, two novels of which have been published in the UK as well as in Canada. She has published two collections of short stories with Turnstone Press, I Still Don't Even Know You and How To Get There From Here. Turnstone Press also re-released four of Berry's previously published books: Margaret Lives in the Basement, What We All Want, Blur, and Blind Crescent. Berry is a reviewer for The Globe and Mail, and teaches at the University of Toronto and Humber College. Born in California and raised in Victoria, B.C., Berry now lives in Peterborough, ON with her family.