"For me, Marilyn Monroe is a masterpiece
of artifice elevated to art. Her creator was an unwanted young woman named Norma Jeane
Baker. Norma Jeane moved from home to foster home, unhappy, unwanted. A superb artist, she
created Marilyn Monroe, step by step, all contradictions, lies, variations. Even her
origin is in ambiguity--where, from whom, when?...Does art justify a painful life? I don't
know. But art does remain, and pain finally dies...."
Did Marilyn Monroe have a daughter? If
so, is it possible that Robert Kennedy was her father?
This is the story of Normalyn, who at the age of 18, discovers a letter asserting
her real mother is the great movie star. Enid, the woman Normalyn assumed to be her mother
and who raised her in Texas, is now dead.
To unearth the truth, Normalyn travels to Los Angeles, leaving behind--for now--Ted
Gonzales, the "gypsy-cowboy,' whose love for her is marred by a shared memory of
violence. In "the city of lost angels," amid increasing intimations of danger,
Normalyn moves deep into the maze of untold Hollywood history. Through the memories of
others, she recreates the secret lives of Marilyn Monroe and Enid.
She encounters David Lange, a prize-winning writer obsessed with the legend of Marilyn
Monroe; the deadly Mildred Meadows, who once ruled Hollywood--and Washington--with her
gossip column; Troja, the fabulous nightclub entertainer, herself a star of sorts; Kirk,
Troja's lover, an ex-Mr. America, who lived in the fringes of Hollywood; Dr. and Mrs.
Crouch, once hired by the movie studios any lie and conceal any truth, no matter what the
cost in destroyed lives; and Miss Bertha, a gentle old recluse, who may have been the
confident of great stars.
When Normalyn becomes the target of a bizarre teenage cult group dedicated to restoring
"glamour" to Hollywood by dredging up scandals, her journey narrows. Now there
is only one person, an elusive witness, who can answer her question: "Am I really
This startling modern epic by one of our finest novelists brings to fictional life the
beautiful, tragic figure of Marilyn Monroe and two other mythical presences crucial to the
mystery of Normalyn's birth, John and Robert Kennedy. A suspenseful story, a romance, a
unique literary creation that explores the origins of legends and their power over truth,
this novel introduces in Normalyn Morgan, one of the most memorable heroines in modern
grand slam. This is a massive, magnetic story by a major American novelist writing at the
peak of his powers."
--San Francisco Chronicle