TheDevil Wears Prada of the book publishing world, this biting satire is a trenchant portrait of the contemporary obsession with success, celebrity, and fame
Jim Talbot, a writer with a dozen unpublished novels under his belt, has been roundly rejected by virtually every agent and publisher in the land, and is willing to go to extreme lengths to make his dream of literary stardom come true. Charles Randall, the eccentric founder and managing director of Tetragon Press, a small independent publisher that has managed to survive for 30 years in a fierce publishing environment dominated by corporate juggernauts, is about to be brutally sacked by a newly appointed business consultant. In the cut-throat world of modern publishing, Charles and Jim's paths towards literary salvation are fraught with the most unpredictable dangers. A novel of intrigue, deceit, and sheer desperation, thisis a caustic portrait of contemporary culture and of the literary world's obsession with fame, success, and becoming the next J. K. Rowling.
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This black comedy, about the travails of publishing as seen by a serially-unpublished young wannabe bestselling author and a respected old publisher of translated works beleaguered by the financial world he is now forced to work in, could have been really hilarious - if say David Lodge or Tom Sharpe had written it. Instead, it is rather average. The characters, with the exception of gentleman publisher Charles and his PA, are absolutely ghastly. All the stereotypes you could think of are there, and their worst sides all come out in the bidding war for a fictional call-girl's memoirs. It's not bad, it's got a few laughs, and a blogging friend of mine even gets a positive mention - however it's lacking bite. It's a book that's not quite made its mind up whether it's to be an out and out tragedy or satire, and has settled intead for being a comedy-drama - very ITV! The author is an insider - being a publisher himself, (of quality reprints of out of print gems at Hesperus), and although it's a depressing view of his own industry, it's still a bit cosy. Industry insiders will doubtless enjoy it and get all the in jokes that went over my head. Ultimately it's backward looking rather than anticipating the next publishing sensation - which would have been much more fun.read more
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Alma Books founder Gallenzi's send-up of the British book world strikes home in the details but rarely penetrates the surface. Dogged writer Jim Talbot is willing to do anything to get published, and over the course of the novel, he does: lying, stealing, cheating, and killing-or at least trying to kill. When his roommates kick him out, he moves back in with his cancer-stricken mother, whose money he has been diverting for several years into his own account in lieu of paying her taxes and medical bills. He then pretends to be a literary agent shopping a scandalous memoir, gaining connections faster than he can write the nonexistent manuscript that he has sold. Meanwhile, after old-fashioned publisher Dr. Charles Randall gets fired from Tetragon, the small press to which he's devoted his life, he discovers a 15-year-old manuscript by a deceased friend whose work is back in vogue-and decides to take revenge on Tetragon by starting his own imprint. As Jim and Charles grow ever more desperate in their respective attempts at literary success, Gallenzi's (Interrail) satire devolves into absurdity, which is entertaining despite falling a bit flat. Agent: Tim Bates, Pollinger, Ltd. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.