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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

I'm Losing You

Bruce Wagner

general information | review summaries | our review | links | about the author

To purchase I'm Losing You

Title: I'm Losing You
Author: Bruce Wagner
Genre: Novel
Written: 1996
Length: 319 pages
Availability: I'm Losing You - US
I'm Losing You - UK
I'm Losing You - Canada
DVD: I'm Losing You - US
I'm Losing You - UK
I'm Losing You - Canada
  • I'm Losing You was made into a film in 1998, directed by Bruce Wagner and starring Frank Langella, Rosanna Arquette, and Andrew McCarthy

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Our Assessment:

B : sharp and very well written but dark, jumbled, pointless

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Entertainment Weekly A- 26/7/1996 Anne Thompson
New York . 22/7/1996 Walter Kirn
The NY Times . 30/7/1996 Janet Maslin
The NY Times Book Rev. . 18/8/1996 Anita Gates
The New Yorker . 5/8/1996 John Updike
People . 21/10/1996 Michael A. Lipton
Rev. of Contemp. Fiction . Spring/1997 Irving Malin
Salon C- 28/8/1996 Dwight Garner
Time . 7/10/1996 James Collins
Wired . 8/1996 Rudy Rucker

  Review Consensus:

  Many impressed by aspects of it, but no consensus

  From the Reviews:
  • "(S)ift through these glimpses of the L.A. underbelly and you'll come uncomfortably close to the beast. (...) For unsqueamish students of Hollywood, it's a must-read." - Anne Thompson, Entertainment Weekly

  • "Not surprisingly, Mr. Wagner's gallows humor and breathtaking malevolence sometime spin out of control, especially in a book that strains to keep track of so many interrelated stories. Linking its characters with too-facile agility, sometimes letting its loose jottings ramble on indulgently, I'm Losing You never achieves the overarching coherence that might have made it a great book instead of an inspired, uneven one." - Janet Maslin, The New York Times

  • "The author's achievement is that almost every character is fascinating, no matter how hideous. (...) I'm Losing You may stop short of brilliance, but it's pretty fabulous and its message is trenchant." - Anita Gates, The New York Times Book Review

  • "The book's title refers to the plaint of his cell-phone-addicted denizens as they fade out of range. But it also sums up the novel's major flaw: too many self-indulgent -- and sound-alike -- voices, and precious little reason to sort them all out." - Michael A. Lipton, People

  • "(H)e is less interested in individuals than in crowds, shadows, ghosts -- he captures the transitions of power, the swift successes and failures. Every page vibrates with allusions to pain, hiding, linguistic twists; his language is devious, jittery, double-edged." - Irving Malin, Review of Contemporary Fiction

  • "Here's a heads-up, however, from someone who recently spent eight hours with I'm Losing You in his lap: Don't buy the buzz, and forgive Updike the (rare) critical misfire. I'm Losing You is indeed caustic and intermittently brilliant, but any stray fireworks are buried beneath mountains of gassy chat, unfiltered gossip and 100-proof psychobabble. (...) What the novel lacks, however, are fleshed-out characters and any sense of narrative arc; the action scrolls past as if under a microscope." - Dwight Garner, Salon

  • "Wagner has written a novel of disciplined excess, with beautifully concentrated prose and a sometimes heartbreaking polyphony of voices." - James Collins, Time

  • "There is no single, clear story line; instead we have parallel narrations from various points of view. There are many passages of poetic beauty (.....) But there are also many passages of scabrous cruelty and sexuality. (...) It's ruthlessly hip and often very funny. But you may very well not want to read it." - Rudy Rucker, Wired

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       I'm Losing You is a Hollywood-novel. With cameos by and many mentions of actual Hollywood-folk -- stars, directors, producers, agents -- it sounds authentic: like a genuine slice of la-la-land ca. 1996. Or rather: many slices.
       Wagner serves up a number of Hollywood stories: a constant criss-cross of intersecting lives and projects, presented in brief bursts and chunks, the restless narrative jerking from one story to the next. There are a multitude of voices and ambitions. Major projects involving numerous characters include an attempt to remake Pasolini's Teorema and a contemporary take on Gogol's Dead Souls -- both ideas nicely spun out and realised by Wagner (as are the fates of the projects)
       Money, sex, reputations, and connexions are among the major obsessions. Haunting almost all of them, too, is mortality itself: this is a disease-ridden, accident-prone novel, full of death (often preceded by considerable suffering).
       Wagner does Hollywood expertly: he writes well, the dialogue and descriptions utterly convincing (and, piece by piece, often riveting). The situations -- from movie-making to the details of the personal lives -- are also convincing.
       It's a fast-paced world Wagner describes, where success depends so much on coincidence and dumb luck and someone's mood, and where abuse is the most common modus operandi. More bewildering than simply ugly, it's not easy to sympathise with many of the principals, but Wagner does his best to show it's not an entirely soulless world, despite appearances to the contrary. But the book is so packed with characters (who fade in and out of view), that one is torn from page to page.
       Wagner manages some genuine pathos, but there's little joy in these pages, and so the book also remains surprisingly dreary (with the occasional comic exception -- though even the humour tends to be dark)
       Very well written, I'm Losing You is ultimately a disappointment -- not hollow, like much of the world he describes, but rich only in detail and satisfying only in its parts and not the whole.

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I'm Losing You: Reviews: I'm Losing You - the film: Bruce Wagner: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       American author Bruce Wagner has written several novels and screenplays.

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