Before you read Joni Gordon's review of my first novel THE PROVIDER, there are some things you should know about her—the owner of Newspace Art Gallery.
Joni Gordon was my closest girlfriend, even during the years we had little contact, and then no contact. I never forgot her, which was the case everyone could make who knew her. At least 500 people attended her funeral. She was a meteor who came to rest temporarily on this planet and then zoomed off to another place.
Here is her review of my first novel THE PROVIDER.
"'The Provider' provides: Hopes, dreams of newly minted Americans in their wishful Golden Valley. Evelyn Marshall’s novel, “The Provider,” captures love, broken commitments, shrill human humor, dailiness of idealized work, partnership and endurance. Her story is about bouncing back and practicing a practical life. On the other hand the novel explores people being used and useful. Her book is populated with humans we know and care about. Marshall’s novel probes insights into the human condition. When Russian immigrants begin melding into America with American values and traditions, how is it that some people are amply successful while other people founder, caught in webs of frustration and measurable failure? Hopes and dreams are upended. What goes right is unstable. What goes wrong is stable. 'The Provider' provides a vivid story for us."
- Joni Gordon (Newspace Gallery)
Her oral interview as a leader in the burgeoning art world of Los Angeles in the 1950's is archived in the Smithsonian Museum.
She recognized talent, nurtured it, and was a true visionary. Although she was a an award-winning playwright at UCLA, she learned about art through originating a lecture salon in her home that she called "Contact." It thrived for nine years before she opened her gallery "Newspace." One of her closest clients was the playwright Edward Albee who wrote "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf." Joni was an original: a poet, an intellect, and a see-er.
She was so enthralled with THE PROVIDER that she took it to a movie producer. Alas!
As Lou Wasserman said to Mel Brooks, "Mel, I want to do it, but with one small request. Could you change it to Mussolini; he's a nicer guy?"
Mel shook his head: "Lou, you didn't get it."
The movie producer said to Joni, "The novel isn't commercial." If I had been present at the meeting I would have shaken my head and said, Neither was the play "Death of a Salesman," and neither was John Cheever's great short story "A Pot of Gold." That producer simply "didn't get it.' He must have thought that no one cares about a man who continually fails.
After that movie-producer with the movie producer, I played with plot developments to enhance the commercial value of the novel. During that post time, I was in Australia with Marv as a houseguest of a woman who counceled aborigines with all their problems. She heard my history of THE PROVIDER and she became adamant that the novel must return to its original idea. She said, "Everyone can relate to Sanya and Rosa. That's real life, everyone's life." She told me what I wanted to hear. And so I returned to the original. And to Joni's review.