[ePUB] Paint It BlackAuthor Janet Fitch – Albawater.co

Josie Tyrell, art model, runaway, and denizen of LA's rock scene finds a chance at real love with Michael Faraday, a Harvard dropout and son of a renowned pianist But when she receives a call from the coroner, asking her to identify her lover's body, her bright dreams all turn to black As Josie struggles to understand Michael's death and to hold onto the world they shared, she is both attracted to and repelled by his pianist mother, Meredith, who blames Josie for her son's torment Soon the two women are drawn into a twisted relationship that reflects equal parts distrust and blind needWith the luxurious prose and fever pitch intensity that are her hallmarks, Janet Fitch weaves a spellbinding tale of love, betrayal, and the possibility of transcendence

10 thoughts on “Paint It Black

  1. Janet Janet says:

    thought it was about time to add Paint it Black to my books... I have read it, a few times!
    Still like it. The aftermath of a suicide in 1980 punk rock LA, picks up all my favorite obsessions: the artist's struggle, the war between permission and perfection in creative life, California and Los Angeles history, a young woman's search for the authentic self, the music of language, the vulnerability of soulful people in a materialistic world--and the poisonous effect of a narcissistic parent on a sensitive child, in this case a mother/son family romance.
    It began as a short story inspired by the Bergman movie 'Persona'. It centers around a girl whose boyfriend has committed suicide in his mother's house… a moldering Los Feliz mansion which recalled a house I'd visited as a child and never forgot…She shows up to see where they boy killed himself. The mother, exhausted by grief, allows the girl in. The girl spends some time in the closet where he hung himself. When the girl comes down from the boy's room, the mother starts talking to her--and in the conversation, begins to address her as if she is the boy.. And when the girl answers as him, you know she's never going to leave that house. A nice dark, gothic short story.

    Now, in a curious chain of circumstance, the novel that grew out of the short story that was inspired by the Bergman film, is itself going to be a movie. Full circle. Can't wait to see how it will play out!

  2. Amy Amy says:

    I guess that, in light of so many boo's and hissses, I must somehow make an apology for my 5 stars. I don't care about the story. Janet Fitch could write the evening news and I would read it. Maybe the story fell somewhat flat, maybe Josie was a little predictable, but most stories are this way & as I said before, I could care less. The use of language is so very poignant. I would read a paragraph, a chapter if I could, and stop...letting the words saturate, find their mark and, time and again, devastate me. Yes, a very emotional response...but it was a very emotional book. The poetry of the prose, the rhythmic destruction and salvation, and the almost too sappy sensitivity is saved by the honesty, vulgarity and grit of grief. I loved this book. I believe the use of words was above and beyond White Oleander, the story be damned.

  3. Joe Valdez Joe Valdez says:

    This novel burns itself to the ground faster than a clubhouse stocked with oily rags, lighter fluid and homemade firecrackers in a bone dry field. Published in 2006, Paint it Black is Janet Fitch's follow-up to White Oleander. Talk about a hard act to follow, that novel ranks as the best L.A. novel I've read and one of the best by an American author. Fitch had earned herself a victory lap, or a novel whose paragraphs weren't all jeweled and a few characters who weren't as memorably sketched as those in her debut, but this book is one FEMA needed to write a check for. I stomached 100 pages before abandoning it.

    There are stages in discovering the novel you're reading is a disaster. There's the Slow Start, where we hope the author will find the story after a dozen pages of preamble. Or two dozen. If she's written White Oleander, three dozen. Then there's the Horse Blinders, where we stare ahead at the author's prose or table dressing and ignore the alarming things she's doing elsewhere to prevent from bolting. Then there's the Post-Mortem, where we scour the Internet for clues on what went wrong. Did the author publish an unfinished manuscript, or write it in rehab, or write it in twenty-eight days? All of the above?

    Since I wasn't enjoying the novel, I did do some research and discovered that Fitch was working on a historical novel as her follow-up to White Oleander. Unsatisfied with its progress, she put it aside. Then she went through a long and complicated divorce. Then Fitch started writing Paint it Black, which begins in Los Angeles as the city mourns the assassination of John Lennon. Good-looking corpses, funerals and sadness are just beginning for twenty-year-old Josie Tyrell, a native of Bakersfield and an art model, as she mourns the suicide of her beloved boyfriend Michael. And experiences pain. And mourns. And attends the funeral. And reminisces ...

    The Pioneer Market lot still bristled with unsold Christmas trees. They had bought their own tree here, exactly twelve months ago. She could see them, walking together, arm in arm, the tall rumple-haired boy in the tweed jacket, collar raised against the cold, the girl in the yellow coat with the bleached hair. Laughing, spying on people, guessing who they could be, making up stories. The only fucking Christmas they would ever have. Driving home with the tree tied to the roof of the Falcon like a dead deer, carrying it down the steep stairs. They sat up all night making decorations for it, Michael twisting up an entire circus from pipe cleaners--horses with bareback riders, seals with balls on their noses, elephants, and dogs in tutus. The little ringmaster with his top hat and whip. Twisted strings of trapeze artists, pyramids of acrobats. And she made angels from Kleenex and sheep from cotton balls, and they drank eggnog with rum and danced to Piaf on the stereo. La Vie en Rose. Michael wrapped all around her, his cheek pressed into her hair.

    Pain and memories are not a story. A character experiencing pain and memories who does something is a story. A comedy writer who channels her depression into the best material of her career, only to have her work suffer as she becomes a healthier, happier person would be a story.

    Josie Tyrell is a hayseed who flees to L.A. and fills her emptiness with a man. I could not summon an ounce of pity for her. And wherever Michael is? Fuck that self-centered prick for taking his girlfriend over the edge with him. I couldn't take page after page of how beautiful he was and their relationship was when he dumped her in the most morbid fashion possible. Wake up, darlin'.

    Fitch knows L.A. down to what Spanish language marquees in Echo Park would've read in 1980. The writing is occasionally as gorgeous as it was throughout White Oleander. But without offering her readers free Valium, this book should never have seen the light of day.

  4. Asghar Abbas Asghar Abbas says:

    So okay, this is what you do. Here's what. Pick up this book, open it in the middle, splitting it wide. Then put your face right in there. Inhale. And Breathe in LA, as everyone in this book comes alive.

    Los Angeles has always been a bit animated in Fitch's stories, like an additional character and sometimes, even the main one. She enlivens her city in a way that you feel everything, every single thing in it. What her characters go through, stays with you even after there are no more pages left to read.

    This is more than just a LA novel though, but it is LA through and through. I kept expecting to run into Warpaint and Little Red Lung (I am listening to them right now. They are fantastical and quite fantastic)

    I got my first surprise when I realized this book wasn't as much about the touted out LA rock scene as it was about art and artists, really. And it was about wanting to be an artist regardless of clearly not being one. I don't think our hot yet grounded MC went to any concerts, just one, barely. Maybe?

    What did irritate me was the main character's lovelornness. I didn't doubt Josie's love for Michael. I just wasn't convinced whether I should care about it. She went on and on about how she killed the thing she loved. It became redundant. But that's how you murder something isn't it, by loving them. When you do that you kill them. Simple. They are never the thing you imagined you liked in the first place, anyhow. But then again, death of things affect everyone differently and Josie was dealing with deaths of too many things.

    However, Fitch had drawn this intensity that Josie had, from her personal experience. That is something I can appreciate.

    What I admire most about Josie, apart from her toughness, is that she thought she was uncultured but that didn't turn out to be the case. She was refined, almost unwittingly. She was intelligent in spite of herself.

    I liked her ending. Oddly enough, it was optimistic and above all, realistic. OK, sure. All the characters had stories, they were full of them but there wasn't a story here. So I can see how this might turn off some readers. There isn't a single story here. Even though there were many on going ones that needed their endings.

    Paint it Black wasn't about a Girl in a Village, it dealt heavily with loss. One more thing, though this book might not help you with your bereavement. But it will make you feel a little less alone about your loss.

    I feel like I should review this longer. But I am not going to. I'll starve you first and then overfeed you my words.

    But know that Janet Fitch's words are my absolute favorite. She is special to me for another reason. Fitch introduced me to someone who was destined to be my lifelong friend. You know who you are, thank you, and I love you. For so many things, especially for you being you.

    Oh, I came across one of my favorite words in this book, so many times. That was sweet. Am I going to tell you what that word is? Nope. Read me and find out.

    Another thing. Those looking to find real women writers shouldn't look any further than Janet Fitch. She can write. An understatement.

    Addendum : Since this was about music and art, I'll make a playlist. Of my favorite songsters and artists.

    Music/bands :

    1. Warpaint

    2. Aurora

    3. Bullet for my Valentine

    4. Little Red Lung

    5. Civil Twilight

    6. Evanescence

    7. Green day

    8. Giorgio Moroder

    9. Lauren Auilina

    10. James Vincent McMorrow

    11. Grace

    12. Amy Lee

    13. Chris Cornell

    14. Jenny lee lindberg

    15. Ramin Djawadi

    16. Slipknot

    17. 30 Seconds To Mars

    18. Audioslave

    19. System of a Down

    20. Imagine Dragons

    21. Wintersleep

    22. KONGOS

    23. Fozzy

    24. The Capistrano Birds

    25. Nova Heart

    26. Louise And The Pins

    27. Of Monsters and Men

    28. Sigur Rós

    29. Wardruna

    30. The Dubliners

    31. Slainte Mhath

    32. The Notwist

    33. Ronan Hardiman

    34. A Tribe Called Red

    35. OMNIA

    Como poden per sas culpas, Cantiga 166.

    Favorite artists :

    Hasan Abbas

    1. Chiara Bautista

    2. Adrian Borda

    3. Miles Johnston

    4. Serge Marshennikov

    5. Stefan Celic

    6. Charmaine Olivia

    7. Terri Foss

    8. Duma Arantes

    9. Shehzil Malik

    10. Gustave Doré

    11. Salvador Dalí

    12. Cyril Van Der Haegen

    13. John Collier

    14. Laura Makabresku. Like my favorite girl, I saved the best one for last.

    15. Hailey Wait aka Piigss. Because our Aurora loves her and I want my Moon.

    16. Andrea Kiss - Artist. Awesome vision.

    17. Magdalena Franczuk. Such imaginations.

    18. Marta Bevacqua Photography.

    19. Mara Illustration & Crafts.

    20. Bahamas Girl.

    21. Elena Kalis Underwater Photography.

    22. Dolldrums.

    23. Kat Irlin. AKA Kat in NYC. One of my favorite, favorite artists. Her instagram is something else.

    24. Robert M Ball. Beautiful Death.

    25. Annie Murphy-Robinson.

    26. Emma Leone Palmer.

    27. Tanya Shatseva.

    28. Loui Jover.

    29. Natalia Drepina Photography.

    30. Darker Days Illustrations.

    31. The Madd Hattr Joel Santana.

    32. Sus Blanco photography.

    33. Sylvie Facon Creatrice France.

    34. Bozvision.

    35. Justin O'Neal Art.

    36. Kiararcphotography.

    37. Jessyka Cheyenne Guarapuava.

    38. Nat Jones Art.

    39. Mister Caitlin / Caitlin T McCormack.

    40. Christopher Lovell Art.

    41. Shana Levenson.

    42. iamnashnyc.

    43. Jana Brike.

    44. Deniz Kutluk / dearistanbul.

    45. Brittany Hanks.

    46. Piersparello.

    47. Maxime Taccardi (Artworks)

    48. Laura Woermke artist.

    49. Patrick Ennis - Artist. (April 2018)

    50. Victoria Morphine Art (love her artwork)

    51. Alexandra Sophie Photography.

    52. Linnea Strid.

    53. Alexandra Bochkareva Photography.

    Codicil : I know it took forever but the Paint It Black movie is finally coming out on 19 May 2017. Mark the date. Directed by the always poetic and lovely Amber Tamblyn. Even though I am definitely not happy about the choice for the main lead. Not my Josie. I feel Tamzin Merchant is better suited for the role. Just my opinion. Still, nonetheless I am very excited about it.

    God, I love this book and Fitch's amazing wordlings. But sometimes I do feel like an octopus being cooked in my own ink.

  5. John John says:

    Many students of great literature will never touch Paint It Black, largely due to the lazy assumption that the work of any author singled out by Oprah’s Book Club best belongs in the hands of mawkish stay-at-home mothers. Fitch’s second novel is not sentimental. An artist’s suicide marks the start of the narrative, and it is refreshing how skillfully Fitch handles the tragedy. It is never treated romantically as so much art obfuscates the plain fact that death is a cold period, not an exclamation point to a genius’s life, or a harmless question that can be tossed about the mind on a drive to work. The tragic and the triumphant are often mistaken, and Paint It Black helps readers see the two not as opposites, but as cross-stitched seams that dash and dart through one another intersecting regularly. This novel is great. Many pages do not sing, and several passages are expected and fall flat like bad jokes. Yet the book is great still, proving that any special novel is an intangible whole much greater than the sum of its sentences. The protagonist is mired in grief throughout the entirety of the book, and Fitch carefully exposes the sincerity of this young woman who believes in a true world but does not know how to begin prayers that presuppose such belief. In Paint It Black, there are no grand pronouncements of redemption. There are no turgid truths pushed forward by lofty language. In part through the broken english of a Mexican maid, Fitch delivers terse revelations on love, beauty, and will that many texts in the canon of great literature promise to teach in word with the lesson lost in its advertisement.

  6. Antigone Antigone says:

    Few writers manage to capture contemporary Los Angeles. It is not an easy thing to do. Ask any East Coast transplant and he will roll his head (not just his eyes, but his entire head) as he launches into the standard lambaste of the shallow, the inane, the mystic mumbo-jumbo, the ego, the irrelevance, the artificiality...Woody Allen nailed it, or was it clever Dorothy Parker with her sharp lament: Los Angeles is seventy-two suburbs in search of a city. What they are saying, and it's important not to miss this, is that the place is very hard to get a fix on. Which is understandable. Being, as it is, The City of Dreams.

    Janet Fitch is one of the modest number of authors possessed of genuine insight into the living of life in L.A. - as those who happened upon her first novel, White Oleander, are likely already aware. She also has a marvelously astute obsession with the relationship between mothers and daughters. Painful things, as she sees them. Hungry, destructive; daunting and determined dances of well-heeled rage. Her initial outing turned the teenage Astrid away from her birth Medea and sent her shopping - like the prince with his slipper - through the Los Angeles foster-care system in search of a better fit. Paint It Black continues in the same less-than-merry vein, altering only the degree of relational remove.

    Josie Tyrell is a seventeen-year-old runaway from Bakersfield. Fate drops her to the center of L.A.'s 1980 punk rock scene where she scrambles to survive through nude modeling at a local art school. Behind a sketchbook at the back of the room sits one Michael Faraday, son of the renowned pianist Meredith Loewy, who has removed himself from his studies at Harvard to either slum or rebel. They bond and build a year's life together in sweet bohemian bliss; the cultivation of her mind taking precedence as he toils with his art and she pays the rent. And this is where, somewhat like the tricky Los Angeles, Josie imagines her eye can fix...until he drives one day to Twenty-Nine Palms and shoots himself in the head. Chapter One closes. Chapter Two - Enter Meredith, the mother from hell.

    There's a lot of extraordinary writing here, not the least of which for me lies in Fitch's easy conveyance of the texture of this city. She has a true feel for the authentic, yet that asset can turn on a dime to make the lapses all the more evident. I found the use of lingo discordant (voddy, ciggy, etc.), but probably could have gotten past that. What really jarred were the advanced perceptions coming out of this seventeen-year-old's mind. Josie may have absorbed a lot of aesthetic data in her year with the Harvard boy, and perhaps even a sense of context, but it would not have been remotely possible for her to have processed that material into this sort of seasoned wisdom. Not at seventeen. The only way I could move beyond it was to pretend she was a very bright twenty-six year old...until the novel reminded me she wasn't. And that was difficult.

    Still, if you don't mind feinting a little to the left? A fair book.

  7. Patricia Williams Patricia Williams says:

    This is a very different book. It is about depression and suicide and how it affects friends and family of a young man who shot himself. I read the whole book but had a very hard time with it. The author is very descriptive and it's a good story but just did not enjoy the subject matter. Story takes in LA in the late 1980's and there is a lot of the locations, bands and places like that mentioned that I know nothing about. The main character is a 20 year old young woman whose boyfriend goes to a desert motel and shots himself,, There are lots of poetry references and musical references in the book. The boy's mother is a concernt pianist and the young man loves jazz and songs of the 20's and 30's. This whole story is about the young woman and the mother deal with the suicide. And the end of the book did have redemption because the main character did try to help another person get into a better life like she did. I have liked this author before and will definitelyl read her again but will say this book was a hard read.

  8. Antoinette Antoinette says:

    At times the writing was lyrical. Fitch showed every aspect I admire in an author, but then it just all went to hell. Josie is worse than an ordinary narrator, she is the very definition of counter-culture. Cheap references to punk rock and substances will get you nowhere, when it comes to keeping the attention of a readers. I hate it when authors mention things casually to try and make themselves and the character seem cold, or in some way used to the ways of the world. The use of the word Barbiturates was terrible. The book was hard to get through. Thought processes were explained way too often. It was as though Fitch was describing a really good idea that she just wasn't sure how to write. This book could have been much shorter, had the writing been focused and relevant. Yes, we realize Josie is having trouble accepting the death of her lover, but can something actually happen? Though it was full of mental anguish, very little of it was interesting. I regret finished this novel, but at times it was very enjoyable. I actually don't know how I feel about it. READER BEWARE this is not a great read. I didn't pick up the book feeling inspired, satisfied, happy, sad, or any other useful feeling. I mostly just felt a little disappointed... That said, I am glad I read it. Enjoy?

  9. K K says:

    I give up. I can't finish this book. I struggled for 175 pages, but I just can't do it any more. I expected much more from the author of White Oleander, especially with reviewers calling it a page-turner (Elle Magazine, did we read the same book?) and positive quotes from The Atlantic Monthly, of all things. This reminded me of Intuition but much worse, in the sense that the sporadic dialogue and action are interspersed with lengthy descriptive paragraphs about the main character's inner life, as opposed to writing a punchy novel where the reader can intuit all that. With all that description, I felt that Fitch failed to give her main character any personality (no, extensive cursing does not qualify as characterization; nor do annoying speech habits like calling vodka and cigarettes voddy and ciggies). I understood that she wanted to depict the character's mourning in its full, raw sense, but I think she went too far -- with all the drinking, tearfulness, and inner dialogue, the book was way slow and very depressing with no hint at eventual redemption.

  10. Kim Kim says:

    This book is incredibly powerful...but also incredibly painful to read. It follows the story of Josie Tyrell, a young woman growing up in the late 70s/early 80s and a punk model who falls in love with the intelligent, brooding (you know the type) Michael Faraday, who ends up committing suicide. The book details Josie's process of grief, and how it interacts with Meredith's, Michael's mother's process as well. The detail is incredible and takes you through everything; love, the shame and darkness of mental illness, the incredible grief and pain associated with losing a loved one. You won't be able to help associating it with your own life experiences. A must read...just make sure you're up for the sadness.