Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel:
The point of coming to this city wasn’t school, he decides. School was just his method of escape. The point was the city of Toronto itself. Within four months he’s dropped out and is going to acting auditions, because some girl in his Commerce 101 class told him he should be an actor.
His parents are horrified. There are tearful phone calls on calling cards late at night. “The point was to get off the island,” he tells them, but this doesn’t help, because they love the island and they live there on purpose. But two months after leaving school he gets a bit part in an American movie filming locally, and then a one-line role in a Canadian TV show. He doesn’t feel that he really has any idea how to act, so he starts spending all his money on acting classes, where he meets his best friend, Clark. There is a magnificent year when they are inseparable and go out four nights a week with fake IDs, and then when both of them are nineteen Clark succumbs to parental pressure and returns to England for university while Arthur auditions successfully for a theater school in New York City, where he works for cash in a restaurant and lives with four roommates above a bakery in Queens.
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