Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilariously funny, depressingly true, 29 Mar. 2010
This review is from: Bestseller (Paperback)
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As an unpublished writer of novels that have been unsuccessfully submitted to countless agents, I found this book one of the funniest, saddest, truest things I've ever read.

The story begins with Jim, a compulsive writer of a dozen still-unpublished novels, who will do anything to gain the fame and fortune he knows he deserves. Then we meet Charles Randall, the founder of an independent press with a (justified) hatred of modern publishing and the loathsome corporate monkeys who sack him from his own company. Charles is the pivot on which the whole sorry tale revolves. He is the only one with any real integrity, the only one who still believes in the virtue of the printed - not published - word. They are the two ends of the circle, the wannabe writer who will do *anything* for success and the once-respected publisher who only wants the privilege of printing obscure Hungarian poets in fine bindings.

Bestseller is, in many ways, an old-fashioned novel with a proper beginning, a cracking-good middle and a proper end in which pretty much everyone gets their just deserts - the fat-cat businessmen who swallow up Charles' beloved, dusty company, the mink-coat -no-knickers hacks who do their bidding, even poor Jim whose humanity has become entirely subsumed by his ever-more desperate need to publish, gets the end he probably deserves and probably needs, too, as does Helen, the cappuccino girl he tries to exploit.

The novel carries a one line review by Tibor Fischer, `Too accurate, too depressing.' As Alessandro Gallenzi is the founder of a number of small imprints, translator, poet and writer, it has to be assumed that the `hero' of the story, Charles Randall, is based on the author, or at least on his experiences in the trade.

It's certainly an education into the ways of the publishing world, if a dispiriting one and for anyone who has ever had any dealings with publishers and agents, it serves only to confirm what we already knew.

Bestseller is an hilarious, heartbreaking page-turner which I finished in 2 sittings and which I highly recommend, whether you're trying to publish a book or not (but especially if you are).
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3.5 out of 5 stars (20 customer reviews)
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