Stone ArabiaBook |
Spiotta’s finest work to date.
Set in 2004, Dana Spiotta's intriguingly structured novel, Stone Arabia, examines notions of fame and artistic integrity by delving into the lives of a pair of siblings in crisis. Forty-seven-year-old Denise Kranis, a once-promising actress who now works in real estate, worries that her older brother Nik's alcoholism is taking a toll on his health. Nik, a downtrodden middle-aged songwriter, who was a marginal fixture in the late '70s and early '80s Los Angeles punk scene, and who nearly scored a major record deal, has long since slunk away from the public, living a hermetic life while focusing on his magnum opus, the multi-volume album, "The Ontology of Worth." He's also concocting his "chronicles," an elaborate fictional autobiography rife with fake reviews of his albums, false press releases, and album cover mock-ups for unmade B-sides. Conflicts arise when Denise's ambitious daughter, Ada, decides to make a documentary about Nik's career. The film inadvertently exposes the tenuous connection between Nik's art and his life while it sheds light on Denise and Nik's complex and tortured sibling connection. Sad yet unsentimental, Stone Arabia illuminates the allure and angst of the LA punk scene, while exploring how time passes and the past fades away.