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Publisher's Summary

Quentin Tarantino's long-awaited first work of fiction - at once hilarious, delicious and brutal - is the always surprising, sometimes shocking new novel based on his Academy Award-winning film.

Rick Dalton - Once he had his own TV series, but now Rick's a washed-up villain-of-the week, drowning his sorrows in whiskey sours. Will a phone call from Rome save his fate or seal it?

Cliff Booth - Rick's stunt double, and the most infamous man on any movie set because he's the only one there who might have gotten away with murder.... 

Sharon Tate - She left Texas to chase a movie-star dream and found it. Sharon's salad days are now spent on Cielo Drive, high in the Hollywood Hills. 

Charles Manson - The ex-con's got a bunch of zonked-out hippies thinking he's their spiritual leader, but he'd trade it all to be a rock 'n' roll star.

Hollywood 1969 - You Shoulda Been There

©2021 Quentin Tarantino (P)2021 Orion Publishing Group

What listeners say about Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

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Historical fiction the Tarantino way.

To start, I loved the movie and couldn't wait for the book and was not disappointed. Tarantino wrote this novelisation to harken back to the past book adaptations of straight to screen stories. And much like some of the best, Tarantino fills out the story with more insight, Hollywood factoids and more backstory to the main characters that enriches the movie or good as a standalone. Jennifer Jason Leigh was fantastic narrating (as she's one of Tarantino's pals) and delivers his story perfectly.
Just a fun time, and one of the few audio books that I will re listen to.

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terrible and unreadable

terrible book with flimsy characters, unless you like VERY long, VERY arcane lists of unknown 1970s actors and TV shows... in which case you should read it, if not PLEASE don't....

1 person found this helpful

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1969, you had to be there. Absolutely essential

An astonishing read and Jennifer Jason Leigh is a revelation. Tarantino at his best

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A different beast

Fantastic novel, if you're a fan of the film, Tarantino or LA in this time period you're going to love this, very different beast from the movie so don't expect a straight novelisation of the film, was pleasantly surprised and excited by the way it veers off in it's own direction.

Jennifer Jason Leigh doing the narration is the cherry on top.

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Better than most of his films

I don't like his movies generally. This was great though. More mature and much more heart.

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A thorough deep dive by a story telling genius.

What a wonderful textural fun ride QT brings together. Leigh was a perfect train driver.

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Great fun.

This has been my favourite listen for quite some time. While I can't necessarily say it's a GOOD book, it is definitely and enjoyable one. While following the trail of the movie it doesn't feel like it's repeating the movie. Provides a more depth and context and never feels slow. Wasn't sure about Jennifer Jason Leigh nerating it when I first looked only because of it being such a male centric cast. I couldn't have been more wrong. She was the perfect choice and did a fantastic job.

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Stand alone gem

If you loved the movie, you'll love this, but you don't have to have seen it to get a kick out of this book. Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed the back stories and asides to some scenes in the movie that this story adds to.
Well done, loved it.

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Amazing!

I read it in 2 days! wouldn't of minded If it was longer. so well written. And so easy to get lost in. read it!

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Fanfukintastic- an instant, God damn classic

This is a master script writer and director, showing he can sit comfortably amongst the great writers of the last one hundred years. Elmore.L would be proud. As the Pope once said, holy moly this is good. And what else? Well, beyond the film, you now get the novel deep deep depth that is just as good- real good. Then you have Jennifer Jason Leigh narrating this. Wow, what a treat. The thing about that choice is, it was a match made in heaven. QT throws out one desperate flare to illuminate a place and time and people lost. Wonderful is what I'd say if you were here.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-07-2021

Exceptional expansion on the film

The book provides the reader with a new level of depth on most of the characters - so much so as to almost shift Cliff Booth to centre stage as the main character. The story unfolds in an interesting way, often glancing over major plot points featured in the film in a matter-of-fact way, opting to focus more on character development, rather than entertaining action sequences. The odd (and somewhat controversial) chemistry between Rick and Trudi is well executed and is sure to warrant a few re-listens to dialogue scenes.

Jennifer Jason Leigh's narration places the listener right in the middle of the action. Her ties to the Taranrino-film world lends a level of authenticity which would have been lost otherwise.

Both the book and the film are stand-alone classics, but together they form a fantastically entertaining work of art which adds up to more than the sum of its parts.

Tarantino's maiden voyage into the literary world is an exceptional one. I look forward to many more exhilarating titles.

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  • OHW
  • 07-07-2021

loved it

a great companion piece for the film. I loved the style and extra depth it brought to the characters.

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  • Kris
  • 16-07-2021

And Away We Go…

Fantastic and fully engaging novel shining completely different light on characters and events that took place in the movie.
Even dog Brandy had a quite interesting origin story.

At the beginning I thought that would be a good material for group of actors, but very quick I found out how good Jennifer Jason Leight is. She delivered all that content and switched between sweet California girl to Texas redneck accent like a champ.

I’m looking forward for more novelisation from mr. QT. He is a great writer, and that would be perfect way to revisit all his previous cinematic classics and expend the universe.

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  • Douglas Fraser Miller
  • 16-07-2021

great story

excellent narrator
great story I would recommend this book to any discerning listener. thank you

1 person found this helpful

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  • bwanasafari
  • 10-07-2021

Tarantino Showing Off

This book goes nowhere. It has no cohesive story. It ends as it began, nowhere. It is simply Tarantino's real or imagined reminiscence of Hollywood back in the day. There are no new or interesting revelations.
As for choosing Jennifer Jason Leigh to read it, she sounds about as disinterested as I was. Her delivery does nothing to raise the sheer mundaneness of the material.
Get it if it's a freebie but don't pay for it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mr John Davies
  • 29-07-2021

The best

Best audiobook I’ve ever listened to. Love the film and this opens up the world so much more and adds a different spin on some things. Jennifer Jason Leigh is incredible.

Tarantino is simply the best

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  • Peter Brooker
  • 27-07-2021

Loved it

If you enjoyed the movie then you’ll love spending time with these characters, it feels like you’re backstage with them. Jennifer adds to the magic also.

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  • Graham G Grant
  • 25-07-2021

Myths, monsters, and mayhem in 1960s Tinseltown

Rick Dalton is an actor who fears, with good reason, that his best days are behind him. He’s having to settle for spaghetti Westerns and telly shows. But once he’d been on the shortlist for the Steve McQueen role in The Great Escape. His stuntman best friend, Cliff Booth, is Rick’s stunt double; his effortlessly calm demeanour disguises a turbulent personal history. Tarantino’s novel, based on the movie, tells their intertwining stories against the backdrop of late ‘60s Hollywood: a party world peopled by the bright, young, and beautiful. Rick’s neighbours are director Roman Polanski and his actress wife Sharon Tate. The novel isn’t quite a novelisation. It contains some scenes that aren’t in the film, and some that are. There’s more space here for character development. At times, you sense it’s Tarantino talking as opposed to his characters, eg when Cliff rhapsodises about Kurosawa movies. But it doesn’t really matter; it’s good fun. It works best as a companion piece to the movie, though could be read on its own. It’s a series of tableaux, albeit interlinked, but not entirely linear. The chronology is a bit confusing. Again, it doesn’t seem to matter; it’s a funny read, or listen, with the odd poignant moment. Tarantino clearly feels late ‘60s Hollywood, just before the Tate murders, was an idyllic place. He loves everything about it and that comes across. As ever, his manic enthusiasm is contagious. The Spotify soundtrack to the movie is worth a listen: it contains genuine radio jingles that were popular at the time; also used in the movie. There’s an attention to detail in the film and the book - and on the soundtrack - that’s entirely absorbing, though if you don’t share Tarantino’s obsessions, best to give them all a wide berth… this book is really an add-on for fans of the movie, in the mould of the big novel/movie tie-ins that became popular in the ‘60s and ‘70s. For cinephiles, it’s wonderful stuff, with tantalising gossip about Hollywood greats; some of it might even be true… The narration works well - a dry, laconic semi-drawl that fits in well with the material. I sped it up after roughly the halfway or two-thirds mark, as I found it just a little too slow at ‘normal’ speed - and it worked just as well (for me) at around double-speed, or just under.

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  • darren w.
  • 21-07-2021

Go Deeper

I love this movie and so, to have the opportunity to delve deeper into the characters was most gratifying. Especially Cliff and Rick. Great performance by Jennifer Jason Leigh. I just wish it could have carried on. Word of warning don't expect a rewrite of the film it's more of an alternate look at the characters and their paths through this period.

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  • David
  • 12-07-2021

Quentin Classic

Beautifully narrated. Fun and intriguing material. Defintiely a top book for re-listening. Enjoy the adventures of Rick and Cliff.

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  • Dee
  • 12-07-2021

a fantastic addition to the movie

builds perfectly on the film giving more depth to the story and characters showing tarentino can write as well as he can direct.

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