Thursday, June 13, 2013
The title drew me to this book and it is as mysterious as the plot. It is about a young aspiring author, Ian Minot, who can't get his work published by a world of publishing that is rapidly changing and doesn't respect him or his work. He learns more than he wanted to know about how books really get published and what really sells from an older, cynical, ex-editor, Jed Roth, who teaches him about life and writing.
I didn't know if I would like the book or even finish it, but once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. It is a fascinating read about distinguishing fact from fiction in the literary world and in the characters who cross the path of the young writer. He sees how people can change personas and perceptions as easily as they change coats. He starts to suspect that no one is who they seem to be and that everyone is lying about not only their true identities but also the validity of their published writings. Even though he is jealous of published writers, he is scornful of the nature of the publishing world of people who are far too impressed with themselves. People are "gaming" other people and everyone has an agenda.
Especially intriguing are the sections when the seasoned editor, Roth tells the neophyte, Ian, that his work is too ordinary--ordinary people with ordinary lives where nothing exciting happens. However when Roth shares his own writing with Ian, Ian realizes that he is a much better writer than Roth. They form an uneasy partnership to polish a work of fiction and get it published as Ian's memoir since that seems to be what excites the publishing world. Ian wants to be published; Roth wants revenge on the publishing world for perceived slights.
Ian begins to suspect that the memoir is about crimes that have been committed and that he is being set up to take the blame. It is a satisfying, intriguing adventure full of surprises and as exciting as the world of publishing would have it to be. The life of the main character takes a few turns I had not expected which I always like in a good summer beach book.
Posted by R. J. at Thursday, June 13, 2013