Art world meets plastic surgery in novel by Frank Strausser

‘Plastric,’ a novel by Frank Strausser. Image courtesy of Rare Bird Books

NEW YORK – The debut novel Plastic by playwright/author Frank Stausser, who gained much acclaim during the successful three-month run of his stage comedy Physcho Therapy at the Cherry Lane Theater in New York City, brings together various high-level players in the art world with the high-profile Beverly Hills plastic surgery culture in this edgy tale of psychological suspense that explores the ephemeral and diabolical world inside Hollywood as “the Capital of Good Looks.”

Plastic was just released on July 9, published by Los Angeles based independent publisher Rare Bird Books, with release/launch events at both the Chateau Marmont Hotel and Soho House in Los Angeles.

Frank Strausser is also now hosting events at the Strand Bookstore in New York City on Wednesday, July 24 and at Spur at The Station in Southampton, N.Y., on Saturday, Aug. 3.

Strausser’s “bold, stylish and poignant” novel “Plastic” shines a light on a Hollywood conspiracy involving celebrity on celebrity assault and plastic surgery, with plenty of salacious back story including real-life incidents like the tragic plastic surgery-related death of Kanye West’s mother, Donda West.

Lead character Dr. Harold Previn, a top Beverly Hills plastic surgeon is himself an art collector and sculptor. He applies his own sculpting techniques to many of his patient’s cosmetic needs, sometimes sculpting their face like he would the clay. His wife Helen is an accomplished contemporary artist who exhibited at the Frieze London, Art Basel in Miami and has an art studio in Venice Beach. She is represented by a prominent contemporary art dealer who sells to major movie stars and Hollywood executives.

All the main characters homes are covered in well-known modern artist’s work, including Rothko, Pollack, Daniel Richter, Alex Katz, Sophie Von Hellerman, Gilbert & George, etc., setting the scene as these characters lives all intersect when beautiful teen pop star Fay Wray suffers a violently disfiguring assault in a room at one of Hollywood’s top, trendy hotels. Dr. Previn is secretly called in to restore her looks. He soon comes to believe he’s being asked to surgically erase evidence of a crime and that Fay is in grave danger.

Best known for his critically acclaimed plays The Powder Room (starring Academy Award best actress nominee Sally Kirkland), and Psycho Therapy, which ran in London’s West End at the Arts Theatre for five weeks and for three months Off Broadway at the historic Cherry Lane Theatre, Strausser brings his signature sharp dialogue and dark wit to bear on a place where “if you’re not beautiful, you’re dead” in Plastic.

Strausser, himself a passionate art collector with works by Georg Baselitz, Eric Fischl, Sophie Von Hellermann, Sheng Qi, Jiang Congy and Doris Lee, spent a great deal of time conducting interviews with several renowned plastic surgeons to cull research. His interview with celebrity plastic surgeon Dr. Jan Adams became a key plot point in Plastic after the media maelstrom that followed the plastic surgery-related death of Kanye West’s mother Donda West in 2007, which consumed Dr. Jan Adams’ career and reputation.

Critics and peers have already weighed in on Plastic – “Unputdownable. A delicious, caustic comedy of manners with a dose of suspense that keeps its pages turning. Plastic is full of strong commentary on the times and sparkling LA scenes. An imaginative, sharp, entertaining novel” – Foreword Reviews (5 out of 5 stars).

“A shrewd and poignant satire of America’s unhealthy obsession with beauty and perfection, Plastic is a brisk and addictive read that you won’t be able to put down. As you would expect from an author who’s also a playwright, the dialogue is razor sharp and crackles like popcorn. Highly recommended.” – Internet Review of Books.

“Plastic pulls back the operating room curtain to reveal Hollywood celebrity in the raw, combining celluloid glamour and criminal conspiracy” – Mike Sager, Esquire contributor.

Plastic is available on Amazon, in Barnes & Noble stores, in Target stores and on Indiebound.org.