"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." -- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Affair 2.1: Advances

The Affair resumed last night with a strong episode, as vibrant in its emotional tone as in its New York environs cinematography, just as it was last year, which is to say, excellent and welcome indeed.

One of my favorite threads of this already very literate series is Noah's travail as an author, which nabs the reality of traditional publishing about as accurately as ever I've seen on television.   Noah needs money. How can that be, given that the advance he received for his new book was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars (as he tells the perpetually unimpressed Helen).  Well, as his editor Harry, also perfectly cast, patiently explains to Noah, the advance will be paid out in multiple parts - the first part on signing the publishing contract (which Noah already received), and then on acceptance of the manuscript for publication, etc.  The gist, as every published author other than Stephen King knows all too well, is that Noah won't be rich, not even able to live comfortably, on the first part of his advance.

Harry also grasps perfectly - and conveys to Noah - what an ending of a story should do: be surprising when you first encounter it, but be thoroughly predictable when you consider it in retrospect.   This assessment may be slightly more on target than what most authors get from their editors, agents, and others in the business, but it's great to see it delivered to Noah anyway.

The Affair is going so well that I don't like even thinking about it ending, and can only hope it's a long way off from a stunning and in hindsight inevitable final curtain.   Meanwhile, in episode 2.1, we get a departure from last year's narrative norm, with no Alison point of view in either the first or second half hour, but Helen in the second half hour instead.   This was a good segment, too, showing Helen (from her point of view, of course) to be a lot more considerate of Noah than she is in his perspective. This becomes especially clear in the last scene, where she hires a top-notch lawyer to defend Noah.

But I miss Alison's vision, and I'm looking forward to that and more of the story next week.

See also The Affair 2.2: Loving a Writer

podcast review of every 2nd season episode

podcast review of every 1st season episode

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