PUBLISHERS OF LITERARY FICTION SINCE 1983
'Multiple allusions from literary classics are woven into his postmodern narrative as he sends up digimodernism and the shallowness of the desire for fame. Dante, Conan Doyle, Samuel Beckett, George Orwell and other literary heavyweights rebel against the author. As a maverick publishing person, I relished the way Bestseller pokes fun at literary pretentiousness, humbug and bookish aspirations.
“The earth rotated around PR and everything could be sold including me, you, him, her, it, us and them.”
Pierre jumps from the 147th floor of a building in Dubai (“the city built out of almost nothing”), and is welcomed into Literary Hell by Dante and Ceberus. He achieves what he could not in his life: his books fly off the shelves, critics pontificate and readers go wild on social media. He is deified.
Hell turns out to be a surprising place. Writers are punished in myriad ways, especially “for the clichés with which they tortured their readers”. Balzac is forbidden from drinking coffee. James Joyce writes footnotes about his own footnotes. Samuel Beckett waits endlessly for Godot to show up. Kerouac “walks and walks all day long.” Plagiarists prowl though Sherwood Forest robbing classic writers of their plots and metaphors for distribution among novices and hacks. “The narrow streets were paved with pages of books burned or torn to pieces by readers”.
Escorted to a room, Pierre finds messages left for him by a runaway stranger, including The Decanon: a parody of Elmore Leonard’s rules for writing, and he goes on to be interviewed by Big Brother. We meet Lucy — “a hipster and a retrophile” — who has a soft spot for unknown writers. She had been of the dozen readers who attended the presentation of Pierre’s last book. What Pierre’s punishment will be remains a mystery until the eleventh hour. Goofy and clever, Bestseller is a refreshing read and a welcome distraction from these strange and disturbing times. It made me laugh out loud.'
Georgia de Chamberet in BookBlast
It will appeal to fans of Andrew Crumey and lovers of postmodern fiction.