Diary of a Film by Niven Govinden – Guardian Book of the Day

A director is enthralled by his two lead actors in a beguiling exploration of artistic obsession

The credits and deficits of an artistic life are the focus of Diary of a Film. The protagonist, a director called Maestro by all those around him, arrives at a film festival in an unnamed Italian city where his latest work, a tragic romance based on William Maxwell’s novel The Folded Leaf, will premiere. The homosexual passion of two young men, the film’s key theme, is echoed in Govinden’s novel through the vicarious pleasure that Maestro takes from his brash yet beguiling American leads, Tom and Lorien, enacting a real-life version of their characters’ story.

Govinden is especially attuned to the fragility of their early relationship, when tender moments can be lost to a misplaced word or misunderstanding, and the romantic spell seems broken and impossible to repair. Maestro is enthralled by his actors and, when socialising with them, his near-anthropological observation of Tom and Lorien chimes with his sense of the primacy – the nobility, even – of reaching for an elusive truth and putting it on the silver screen.

Read the full review here.