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Innocents and Others

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  2,257 ratings  ·  371 reviews
Meadow Mori and Carrie Wexler grew up together in Los Angeles, and both became film-makers.

Meadow makes challenging documentaries; Carrie makes successful feature films with a feminist slant. The two friends have everything in common - except their views on sex, power, movie-making and morality. And yet their loyalty trumps their different approaches to film and to life.
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 12th 2017 by Picador (first published March 8th 2016)
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Lorri Devlin It depends on what you're looking for. It's not a light read, more of an esoteric exploration of how film reflects the mores of a culture.
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3.51  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,257 ratings  ·  371 reviews

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Elyse Walters
Nov 06, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Oh gosh.. I thought this book was ghastly... disjointed....and just not enjoyable.

There were positive quotes about this novel....
especially one that talked about identity and the belief that American's can invent or reinvent themselves. I thought it sounded like a great theme. I was
very excited to read this....but was disappointed in "Innocents and Others". I didn't like how it started out at all ...beginning with a 'scene'...I presumed from a screenplay, (a dreadful love story).

Soon we are int
Dec 08, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
2 1/2 stars. I found myself liking the last third of Innocents and Others, but it was a bit of a slog getting there. I feel like this book was working a bit too hard to be clever, which ended up interfering with some of its strengths. Told in different bits and pieces and from different points of view, it's essentially the story of two women who were teenage friends who grew up to be filmmakers. Their approaches to making films are very different, and this is reflective of their very different p ...more
Ron Charles
Feb 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels-about-art
If you enter the theater of this novel, get set to weather some disorientation as soon as the lights dim. Dana Spiotta’s “Innocents and Others” seems, at first, full of weird tricks, jump-cuts and pretentious posings — and it is — but stay in your seat and pay attention. Soon enough, all her literary chicanery comes into focus, creating a brilliant split-screen view of women working within and without the world of Hollywood.

This is a story about filmmakers and the illusions they shape in the ser
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: all-american
molto più originale di eat the document (col quale condivide una bruttissima resa del titolo in italiano, e sorvolo sulle copertine: spiotta lassù qualche editor ce l’ha con te), questo è un romanzo tipo capsula a cessione ritardata. che nell’arco di una trecentina di pagine parla parecchio di cinema (la formazione di DS è quella lì), molto di rapporti umani, molto o moltissimo di polifoniche sensualità.
l’autrice monta un director’s cut - ci si aspetti quindi, inevitabilmente, qualche lunghezza
Sian Lile-Pastore
Apr 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Uh-mazing. So good, it's kind of beyond being a novel. Reminiscent of Rachel Kushner, Janet Fitch and Mary Gaitskill, it's incredibly smart, inventive, stylish and fascinating. Plot- wise it follows two film maker friends from the 80s to present day, along with two other people who kind of get caught up in their films. There's masses of stuff about films and friendship, but really it's the writing that got me. I'm buying all of her books. Also, great cover.
switterbug (Betsey)
This is a bracing niche book, but it explores some universal ideas. At times, it may even seem esoteric, because beyond embracing the love of cinema and filmmaking, it goes deeper, into the technical manipulation of film to convey a narrative message--or, even the veto of a message, or the search for non-bias. It also moved me as a study of observer and subject effect on phenomenon, whether it is film, phone, feminism, friendship, or social responsibility. Spiotta explores the complexity of narr ...more
Lolly K Dandeneau
I wanted to love it, I heard so much hype. Lately I find myself at odds with so many rave reviews, so maybe I am missing something or just not 'hip' to the times... Yes, using the word hip likely confirms my suspicion but my young adult kids think I'm special.
Why I battled with this is because it did not flow for me. But there were lovely sentences.
"What a mystery the way things act on us, like secret messages just to you as you sit in the dark."

"This is what age is to me- that naked worn-out f
Filmmakers Meadow and Carrie are friends in their youth; as adults, both are successful in different ways, but they become estranged, and each has a different story about what happens. Innocents and Others is an enjoyable, meandering journey through the friendship between these two women, the films they make, and the lives of characters peripheral to them. There is much to admire here: it's beautifully written, and the descriptions of films are stirring and vivid. Spiotta describes several of Me ...more
Jul 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This wasn't an easy read -- non-linear, filled with references to obscure films I've never even heard of, centered around women I didn't particularly like. But I love how smart it is, how Spiotta asks tough questions about the stories we tell ourselves and stories we tell others. Best of all she doesn't try to answer all the questions. This novel isn't entirely satisfying as a story, but it definitely got me thinking.
Charles Finch
My review for the Chicago Tribune:

From the start the essential quality of the Los Angeles novel has been loneliness. It's true across genres, across styles: Raymond Chandler, Charles Bukowski, Joan Didion, Bret Easton Ellis, Janet Fitch, Thomas Pynchon. Is it because of the peculiar sense of fallenness that's only possible in a place where 30 is old? Is it because of Los Angeles' accidental drifting shape, huge yet so rarely intimate? The preeminent novelist currently asking these questions is o
Apr 17, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Tried to like this. Never made it past the first third. I'm very puzzled by all the great reviews. Thought the characters were weird, unappealing, and I couldn't care less about their lives. The extreme details on the equipment, film making techniques, and phone hacking were boring and bogged down whatever story existed. I'm being kind by giving it two stars, in part because many reviews said the last third of the book redeemed it somewhat...never made it that far. Life's too short.
Jaclyn Crupi
Sep 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could talk about this book all day. What it does with structure and form is so exciting. What is says about artistry and the process of creativity is insightful and profound. And don't even get me started on the female friendship. Vision/blindness, selfishness/selflessness, subversion/compliance, real/imagined, darkness/light Spiotta is a master of binaries. And good lord can the woman write!
Lupita Reads
Aug 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this novel. The complexity of humanity it is able to capture truly inspired me and moved me. Definitely one to read slow and spend some time understanding the depth of each character that Spiotta is able to build. Adding it to my favorites of 2016.
Sep 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cinema, cinema, cinema. Due donne, la loro amicizia. Qualche storia collaterale, con un'altra donna in evidenza, strana e affascinante. Riflessioni sull'arte, e in generale sulla vita. Ma soprattutto cinema, cinema, cinema. Ecco: per chi non è grandemente appassionato, c'è un po' troppo cinema in questo romanzo.
Jenny Shank
Apr 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Published: 12 March 2016 01:30 PM, Dallas Morning News

The last time we were in Paris to visit my in-laws, I watched the kids so my husband could attend a screening at a film festival. He was so exhilarated by the movie that, as it ended, he felt connected to the like-minded cinephiles in the room, and wondered what kinds of chic and savvy Parisians he’d see when the lights came on.

“I looked around,” he said, “and saw I was surrounded by a bunch of old nerds.”

I had a similar feeling of brain comm
Book Riot Community
Dana Spiotta is unlike any other writer, and a new book from her deserves a parade and fireworks. This one involves two friends from school, now filmmakers in LA, who cross paths with an intriguing older woman who seduces men through phone sex. Weird, funny, and wild, Innocents and Others is a cutting look at contemporary life filled with unnerving charm and warmth. Seriously, Spiotta is freaking amazing. She's special, like that band that you liked before everyone else liked them.

Tune in to our
Vincent Scarpa
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My interview with Dana, about INNOCENTS, at Tin House:
"Ascolti. Il contrario di questo sono le persone che si mettono a parlare nell'istante stesso in cui uno finisce di dire una cosa, di suonare o di cantare. In pratica si sovrappongono all'altro tanta è la smania di trasformare i propri pensieri in discorso. Non vedono l'ora di mettere le proprie parole dentro la cosa e farla loro. Non sopportano l'idea di non entrarci niente. Passano l'esperienza a formulare una reazione perché è solo alla loro reazione che danno importanza."

Molti spunti, tante
Jonathan Palmer
Mar 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed "Innocents and Others" immensely. I feel like I knew these women. I can’t think of another novel in recent memory that painted such a true picture of a complicated friendship. The push and pull of relationships as we grow older and apart is something I think about a great deal, and the dynamics between Meadow and Carrie are really sticking with me. The basic premise -- two L.A. childhood friends grow up to be filmmakers, one an avant-garde boundary pusher and the other a people-pleasin ...more
Michiko Kakutani and I have one thing in common. We both think Dana Spiotta is all that as an author. The illustrious critic has called her “wonderfully gifted” in her review of Lightning Field; declared her second novel, Eat the Document “stunning”; and described her as “immensely talented” for Stone Arabia. I am in complete agreement with all those accolades. Since I don’t review for the New York Times, I can be even more personal and say that every one of her novels resonates with the life I ...more
Feb 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being a huge lover of both film and good novels, Innocents and Others was a delight for me (and let’s not get started on that comforter on the front cover, I have one exactly like it!) I’m not always a fan of books that do not have a concrete narrative, but I didn’t mind the array of essays, internet comments, vignettes, etc that Dana Spiotta uses to make this novel a whole. The first essay grabbed me instantly, and while I think that my favorite part of the book, the rest certainly didn’t disap ...more
Apr 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised by how much I loved this book. It has all the elements that normally annoy me.
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Start reading a story about a high school film fanatic whose senior project involves aping an urban legend involving her favorite filmmaker. And then, upon successful completion, meets the elderly gent, moves into his house, loves him actually into his final days of life. She steals into the garage for her stowed car on the night that he dies, and no one -- certainly not her parents -- ever knows that she wasn’t in upstate New York recreating films for the summer before college.
Cut to a strange
I enjoyed reading this book which centers around two female film makers who meet in high school: Meadow, an avant-garde documentarian and Carrie, who is a more main stream director, but with a subversive streak. Twisting throughout their narratives are two potential subjects for Meadow’s documentaries: Jelly, a woman who uses the phone to befriend rich and famous men and Sarah, a woman in prison for killing her boyfriend and child.

I thought it was interesting how the novel was structured and ho
Garlan ✌
If you've not read anything by Spiotta before, I don't recommend starting with this novel. Read Lightning Field, Eat the Document and/or Stone Arabia first; they are much more accessible than this one. That being said, I really liked the characters and their connections to each other, even while I didn't really understand their passion for their art. I could try to put into words what I thought about this book, but I will use an example of what I think is a better synopsis of the book.
Apr 10, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Innocents and Others has some of the best chapters I've read this year. There's the first chapter where a filmmaker, Meadow, describes her might or might not have happened teenage love affair with a film legend. There's the story of Jelly who captivates men over the phone using only her voice. Eventually Meadow makes a documentary about Jelly, and we are treated to a merging of Jelly's vocal art, Meadow's visual art and Spiotta's written art. In part, the novel is about the artistic process and ...more
Freesiab (Bookish Review)
An unexpected treasure. The architecture of the book takes a bit of getting used to. Each chapter is a small minuet of a different, and intriguing character. Eventually these people start to connect and you can see the bigger picture of the book. The main theme is film making. And much like a film, the camera is narrow at the beginning and then widens. It's brilliantly written, filled with lovable dysfunctional people and became very hard to put down.
Ron S
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
Themes of identity, reinvention, creativity and the meaning of film are explored in this story of two best friends who grew up in LA in the 1980s and become filmmakers. Ignore the cover, which makes this look like some sort of romantic suspense/"women's fiction" -- this is literary fiction for readers of Rachel Kushner or fans of Patti Smith.
Dana Spiotta has interesting things to say about filmmaking, particularly documentaries, and about female friendship. This book was mesmerizing. The end wasn't quite what I expected, and I'm not sure that I liked it -- but I am still thinking about it, and that means something.
Jaclyn Day
A bizarrely intimate book bordering on the claustrophobic. The pacing was uneven, exacerbating the feeling that the walls were closing in on me the further I got in the story. It was an experience.
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Scribner published Dana Spiotta’s first novel, Lightning Field, in 2001. The New York Times called it “the debut of a wonderfully gifted writer with an uncanny feel for the absurdities and sadnesses of contemporary life, and an unerring ear for how people talk and try to cope today.” It was a New York Times Notable Book of the year, and a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the West.

Her second novel, E
“That is the thing about films. They don't change. You change. The immutability of the film (or a book or a painting or a piece of music) is something to measure yourself against. That is one of the things a great work of art does. It stays there waiting for you to come back to it, and it shows you who you are now, each time a little different.” 2 likes
“Why was Will able to buy this cherished object, this marker of some long-past connection between two people, in an antiques store? At some point there had to be an ending, a death or a breakup, and it got tossed in a box to be given away or sold.” 0 likes
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