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Ghosting: A Memoir Hardcover – 4 Nov 2004
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"Jennie Erdal's Ghosting is a HUGE treat. What a relationship! What a character!! And how well she tells that extraordinary story. I'd kill for an experience like that to write about, and she rises to it magnificently." Diana Athill, author of Stet"
From the Inside Flap
Jennie Erdal worked for nearly fifteen years for the flamboyant, extravagant, larger-than-life "Tiger," a London publisher, entrepreneur, and media personality. Officially, she was his personal editor. In truth, Erdal was his ghostwriter and alter ego. Under his name, she produced not only newspaper columns, business columns, and novels, but even love letters. In temperament, the two couldn't have been more different. Yet their relationship weathered storms of all kinds, from temper tantrums to serious financial reversals, with a tenacious bond that is both a wonder and an enigma.
With effortless grace, gentle erudition, and wry humour, Erdal shows us vivid snapshots of an austere childhood in Scotland and of the London publishing world, peopled by the elegant and the "Oxbridge"-educated. She introduces us to a thoughtful girl who found her passion in language and the magic of words, a passion that led her by a series of chance events to the publishing house, and the strange, wonderful, and never-dull world of the inimitable Tiger.
As original as it is elegant and witty, Ghosting is a remarkable memoir -- more than just one woman's story, it is the tale of her double life, as well as a fascinating glimpse into the symbiotic relationship between two very unusual people. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Ghosting is a truly remarkable debut from the (Mont Blanc) pen of the fabulous Jennie Erdal.
Much fuss has been made in some parts of the media about the mysterious nature of the relationship between the flamboyant Naim Attalah and the intelligent and loyal Erdal.
However, the real beauty of the book is in how it describes Erdal's gifted and imaginative approach to their strange working life whilst raising three children in her homeland of Fife.
I will not be the only reader desperately awaiting Erdal's next book. The technically excellent writing is a joy to read and now that she will have the chance to explore her own ideas we are certain to be in for a series of treats in the future.
To conclude, Ghosting is a fascinating account for followers of the literary world and the lay person alike. It is a truly remarkable tale and should find its way onto everyone's Christmas list. Five stars!
However, the heart of the book is the struggle she had as the ghostwriter of two of his novels. There are insightful and - for anyone who is a writer - incredible useful passages about the process of writing. Since she is forced to write fiction on behalf of another she faces the challenge of finding an authentic 'voice' in which to write - a voice that must appear to be someone else's:
"The fact that I was writing as someone else - with a mask on, as it were - inevitably added yet another layer of complexity. I did and did not feel responsible for the words on the page, I did and did not feel that they belonged to me; I did and did not feel that I could defend them in my heart." (p.142)
So on the one hand this is far more a personal memoir than a business book. On the other hand, maybe the FT is right. To the extent that all of us work in corporations where we face the challenge of appearing sincere and committed to an agenda that does not belong to us we are all 'ghosting' .
As in life, I imagine, the entertaining and maddening Tiger can dominate the pages of this book if you let him. However, Ghosting is so much more than a portrait of this larger than life character. Recent reviews in the press have tended to focus on this aspect of the work and have missed the point, somewhat, of what the author is doing. First and foremost, Ghosting is a memoir and, appropriately for the first book published under her own name, Erdal seeks to exorcise the influence of a man who was both extremely generous to her and profoundly stultifying to her creativity. It is most rewarding to observe the emergence of a voice, heard before, but not recognised or able to speak freely. Untrammelled now by the constraints of Tiger's bizarre view of the world and equally bizarre demands on her talent, Ghosting is an honest and humble reflection on her life: its quirks, its joys, its disappointments and its lessons; and coloured throughout by a dry and thoroughly Scottish sense of humour.
Finally, as Erdal observes and comments on the world and life as she finds it, a philosophical depth also emerges. This, combined with a style which is always un-self-conscious and down to earth, is what makes Ghosting so rewarding to read. In short, Ghosting is a richly-layered work: there is much to interest, much to amuse and there is much food for thought.
This is a wonderful book.
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I don't think she should have been grateful for her employer's generousity.Read more
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