Plot/Idea: Third Act follows a fictionalized account of Buster Keaton’s life from birth to death, with his wife Eleanor's immense efforts to preserve his legacy running through the background. Mori hits the highs and lows with a natural pace that allows readers to glimpse the inner workings of Buster's life in rich, unhurried detail.
Prose: The novel switches between Buster and Eleanor's first-person perspectives, with one character picking up where the other stopped—a strategy that allows the story tremendous intimacy. Mori's style shifts to third person when describing their wedding, offering readers a humorous and entertaining portrayal of their nuptials.
Originality: As a fictionalized account of Buster and Eleanor Keaton’s lives, Third Act is anchored, for the most part, in fact. The novel artfully weaves those facts together into a new creation, while taking occasional liberties in the service of storytelling, to provide a compelling and engaging arc.
Character/Execution: Buster and Eleanor are richly developed characters, and Mori skillfully depicts their roles as famous people and a couple. Eleanor is the keeper of both Buster and his legacy but is also a fully formed character in her own right. Buster, while flawed, is the brilliant mind who experiences a revival of his career at a later age.
Blurb: A highly compelling and exceptional novel that will entice both Buster Keaton fans and those unfamiliar with his work.
Date Submitted: May 15, 2023