'Memoirs and Misinformation' by Jim Carrey. TNS
In Jim Carrey’s new semi-autobiographical novel, “Memoirs and Misinformation,” there are flying saucers and a fire-bombing on Rodeo Drive, apocalyptic fires devouring Malibu and a mega-budget Hungry Hungry Hippos movie written by Kenneth Lonergan.
One moment, “Carrey” dreams of strangling his late mother; the next, he pines for Renée Zellweger (“his last great love”) and challenges Nicolas Cage, a man “whose artistic bravery had always given him courage,” to a jujitsu duel. (Warning: Cage fights dirty.)
Co-written with novelist Dana Vachon in the third person to capture what Carrey calls the “wholeness that has an infinite knowledge of all of its parts,” “Memoirs and Misinformation” is, like the twisted political drawings Carrey posts on Twitter, entirely its own thing.
A satire of Hollywood’s self-absorption coinciding with the end of the planet, none of it is real … except when it is.
And given the extreme circumstances that have marked Carrey’s life, it’s sometimes difficult to sort out fact from fiction.
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“Memoirs and Misinformation” is a deconstruction of the standard-issue show biz chronicle.
There aren’t any fun anecdotes about the making of “Dumb and Dumber” or “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.”
Instead, there is a wholly strange work of autofiction, laden with symbolism and metaphor, sometimes beautiful, sometimes tragic, often inscrutable.
In a recent FaceTime call — with Vachon first joining, followed by another good hour one-on-one — Carrey, 58, says he didn’t want to write a memoir that dryly catalogued his life.
“You can tell a lot about somebody through their fictional choices,” he says, with Vachon adding that they wanted to use heightened reality to create a “super-position of truth.”
That reality, as you might expect from Carrey’s career of infiltrating fiends, clowns and sad men trying to stave off loneliness, naturally tilts toward the surreal — a tone consistent with the experience of speaking with Carrey himself.
It’s all in the book, he continues. “I said a lot of things I want to convey. About my way of thinking. About going down a red carpet and seeing an almost Wile E. Coyote blueprint of the physical bit I’m about to do for people. How I’m inspired that way. How I feel every time I tell a joke or take a chance on humour, no matter what it is, it’s like being a cliff diver and hoping you timed it right so the tide is in when you hit the water.”
Carrey pauses and then, slowly, that elastic smile that has sold millions of tickets over the last quarter century washes over his face. “But you never really know if you’re going to hit the rocks.”
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