Maureen Howard has long enchanted her readers with an urgent history of our extraordinary life and times. In The Silver Screenshe conjures up the last days of silent movies in the story of Isabel Maher, who renounces the glamour of Hollywood and her talent. As Bel Murphy, wife and mother, she is confined to the drama of domestic life and plays it like a star.Bels children struggle against the lives she has scripted for them: Joe, a Jesuit priest, is unsuccessful as a healer of souls; spinster Rita runs off with the love of her life, a gangster who turns states evidence; and theres Gemma, an angry ambitious girl, who enters the Murphys magic circle. All three are pilgrims struggling to discard the myths of the past for the comforts and sorrows of the present. Joes journey takes him to the war of the gospel in El Salvador; Ritas to the witness protection program; Gemmas to problematic fame as a postmodern photographer. The flickering seductions and distortions of private lives play out against the novels rich historical awareness.Darkly comic and truly moving, this is a brilliant exploration of the claims of the past and a passionate bid for freedom. Howard gives us the enduring pleasure of astounding writing and the superb craft of a consummate storyteller.