Double Feature
(Scribner, 2013)

An epic debut novel about a young man coming to terms with his life in the process and aftermath of making his first film—from critically acclaimed short story writer Owen King—for readers of Joshua Ferris, Sam Lipsyte, and Chad Harbach.

Filmmaker Sam Dolan has a difficult relationship with his father, B-movie actor Booth Dolan—a boisterous, opinionated, lying lothario whose screen legacy falls somewhere between cult hero and pathetic. Allie, Sam’s dearly departed mother, was a woman whose only fault, in Sam’s eyes, was her eternal affection for his father. Also included in the cast of indelible characters: a precocious, frequently violent half-sister; a conspiracy-theorist second wife; an Internet-famous roommate; a contractor who can’t stop expanding his house; a happy-go-lucky college girlfriend and her husband, a retired Yankees catcher; the morose producer of a true crime show; and a slouching indie film legend. Not to mention a tragic sex monster.

Unraveling the tumultuous, decades-spanning story of the Dolan family’s friends, lovers, and adversaries, Double Feature is about letting go of everything—regret, resentment, dignity, moving pictures, the dead—and taking it again from the top. Combining propulsive storytelling and mordant wit against the backdrop of indie film-making, Double Feature brims with a deep understanding of the trials of ambition and art, of relationships and life, and of our attempts to survive it all.

Double Feature – Praise

Sharp, hilarious, and irreverent, Double Feature is not only a love-letter to cinema, but also a moving exploration of what it means to be an artist. This novel is brilliant, and Owen King is a magician. — Lauren Gruff, author of The Monsters of Templeton and Arcadia

Set in a world of B-movie actors and enthusiasts, King’s first novel, about facing reality and failed aspirations, is irreverent and ambitious. Its sweeping scope covers several generations in a humorous and cynical narrative that bounces between decades. Entertaining and thought-provoking, this captivating look at the ongoing process of becoming an adult will especially appeal to fans of the indie film industry. Booklist

Owen King’s Double Feature is an ingeniously structured novel about fathers and sons, good art and bad art, success and failure, fight or flight. It manages both to redeem and condemn the overconfidence of youth, and introduces us to a wonderfully, tragically lovable cast of characters. This is terrific book. — Tom Bissell, author of God Lives in St. Petersburg and Magic Hours

“King’s prose is artful, perceptive about people and their ‘warrens of self that go beyond understanding’ Publisher’s Weekly

Double Feature is a beautiful, wrenching beginning, and Owen King is a young writer of immense promise.” — Larry McMurtry

“… [A] darkly humorous and often heartfelt work that’s part ode to low-budget movies, part family drama and part screwball comedy with a slew of oddball characters…” Brian Truitt, USA Today, 3/22/13

“Owen King has spun a story with great compassion and humor. And in examining the creative process, it’s also horrifyingly accurate.” — Bill Hader, SNL

Fresh, new, and original.” Christian Science Monitor

“Dear Reader: With this amazing tour de force, Owen King has more than lived up to the great promise of his debut collection. You will fall in love with Booth Dolan (just try not to) even as you’re giving thanks he’s not your father. This is a big, generous American novel from a dazzling novelist I’ll be watching for years.” — Tom Franklin, author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

Superbly imagined lit-fic about family, fathers and film. Kirkus

“I didn’t believe the species existed any more: a fun, goodhearted and readable to the point of being addictive epic, contemporary novel. To delve this smoothly into the film world, art, this winningly into the complex mess between sons and fathers, this compassionately into life after a man has taken his shot and is no longer the talented, bright-eyed prodigy… it just doesn’t happen. Owen King is some kind of impressive novelist, and Double Feature is a goddamn unicorn.” — Charles Bock, author of Beautiful Children

“Double Feature constantly walks the line between tragedy and comedy, between love and loathing, between friendship and strained codependency, between art and what’s only posing as art. Stories that attempt such delicate thematic juggling can become mired in the muck of their own intellectual ambition. King overcomes this with witty and tightly paced prose, and the novel breezes by in spite of (and even because of) its depth.” — Matthew Jackson, BookPage, 4/13

“Owen King shows incredible heart, humor and structural mastery in his debut novel. Double Feature, as the title might suggest, has both glorious comic sweep and poignant intimacy.” — Sam Lipsyte, author of The Ask

“… a tender, hilarious first novel… Fans of John Irving, Tom Perrotta, Jonathan Tropper, and Nick Hornby will appreciate this urban family tale liberally dosed with humor.” Library Journal

“What a kinetic, joyful, gonzo ride—Double Feature made me laugh so loudly on a plane that I had to describe the plot of Sam’s Spruce Moose of a debut film (it stars a satyr) to my seatmate by way of explanation. Booth and Sam are an unforgettable Oedipal duo. A book that delivers walloping pleasures to its lucky readers.” —Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!

“Double Feature is a many-headed comic monster. Its concerns are varied; it’s hilarious first and foremost, but it’s also a heartbreaking and poignant meditation on the vagaries of art. The sweep of the novel is epic.” — William Boyle, Los Angeles Review of Books 4/22/13

“[Double Feature]… is epic, ambitious, and dedicated to the uncontainable… [King] has a captivating energy, a precision and a fondness for people that are rare…” – David Thomson, The New York Times Book Review 4/7/13

“Owen King has a generous heart and a devious mind; there’s no other possibility that would explain the ways this novel turns from the beautiful and the true right into the bizarre and hilarious. Tackling the act of creation (parents and children, artists and art), King writes with such assurance that the only option for me, once I finished this epic tale, was to start over and hope to experience it anew.” — Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang and Tunneling to the Center of the Earth

“Tartly delicious.” — Tampa Bay Times

The literary and the popular can coexist. Double Feature makes this point, and proves it too.” Brian Gresko, The Rumpus 7/2/13

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