Banbury, Jen(nifer Marie) 1966-
BANBURY, Jen(nifer Marie) 1966-
PERSONAL: Born December 26, 1966, in Hartford, CT; daughter of Richard (an attorney) and Catherine (an attorney; maiden name, van Aubel) Banbury; married Andrew Reich (a television writer), May 23, 1998. Education: Yale University, B.A. (magna cum laude). Politics: "Very liberal." Religion: "Very little."
CAREER: Author. Has also worked as a B-movie casting assistant, waitress, actor, and researcher.
Ablaze, Bantam (New York, NY), 1995.
Like a Hole in the Head (novel), Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1998.
Also author of play How Alex Looks When She's Hurt, produced in Los Angeles, CA, at Hudson Theater.
SIDELIGHTS: Author Jen Banbury has written two books and a play, and has received special attention for her novel Like a Hole in the Head. Like a Hole in the Head is a mystery featuring a protagonist named Jill, who works at a Los Angeles book store called The Bitter Muse. Jill is on the job one day when a dwarf offers her a rare, signed first edition of Jack London's The Cruise of the Snark. Jill buys it and resells it at a handsome profit, only to find, in the words of a Publishers Weekly critic, "that it wasn't the dwarf's to sell." After being threatened by a large hired thug named Joke Man, Jill reluctantly starts off in pursuit of the book after the former child actor she sells it to has by now inconveniently disappeared. In the course of this odyssey, the reader encounters such unusual characters as a Pakistani veterinarian, a film producer with political ambitions, and a water delivery man attempting to recover from alcoholism.
Like a Hole in the Head received several positive reviews. Though a Publishers Weekly reviewer felt its plot could have been tighter, the critic predicted that "fans of the neo-noir will appreciate this wry, outlandish debut." A Kirkus Reviews contributor quibbled with the novel's "arbitrary weirdness," but nevertheless called it "a smoothly written debut, graced with neat turns of phrase." Nancy Pearl noted in Library Journal that "Banbury has . . . grounded Jill nicely, so that she holds our interest throughout." And Brian Morton, writing in New York Times Book Review, stated that "Like a Hole in the Head is a lively send-up of the traditional mystery novel: it can be read as a slapstick answer to The Maltese Falcon." Morton concluded that the novel "is an enjoyable debut from a gifted new writer."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 1, 1998, Joanne Wilkinson, review of Like a Hole in the Head, p. 902.
Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 1997, p. 1721.
Library Journal, January, 1998, Nancy Pearl, review of Like a Hole in the Head, p. 137.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, September 6, 1998, p. 10.
New York Times Book Review, May 3, 1998, Brian Morton, review of Like a Hole in the Head, p. 17.
Publishers Weekly, January 19, 1998, review of Like a Hole in the Head, p. 373.*