THE FROG KING by Adam Davies


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Debut about an assistant book editor by a former assistant book editor that isn’t, let’s hope, what current practitioners of the trade mistake for good reading.

Harry’s the low man on the totem pole at Prestige Books (read: Random House, Davies’s former employer). The main focus of Harry’s life is, first, the calendar he’s supposed to be editing, and, second, his girlfriend Evie. Harry’s okay, except for that brief Tony Robbins phase he went through in college and except for the fact that all he can afford for Evie’s birthday is the word “callypigian.” Here, we get to visit his many crazy apartments; we get to listen when he tells us, like a good whistleblower, how starving editors order their own books and resell them to the Strand Bookstore; we hear how editors routinely belittle writers in their “slush” piles; we listen as Harry fantasizes about having Philip Roth blurb one of his books (only after Harry’s book has been promoted—which will never happen); and we watch as he imagines himself, “Like everybody in publishing—or every young person, at least,” as a writer himself, though thankfully he concludes that “Maybe [he’s] not supposed to be a writer.” The main storyline concerns Evie, who loves Harry but dumps him when he slyly sleeps himself laterally through the industry, demeaning Evie’s love even though she’s the Bonnie to his Clyde. Anyway, love is a tiresome idea to Harry—at least until Evie’s gone and then, of course, he has to stalk her until he gets the picture. The rest consists of endless insider jokes and annoying twentysomethings spending a lot of their time talking about nothing and the rest of it lamenting that they haven’t done anything.

Dim lights, little city.

Pub Date: Aug. 20th, 2002
ISBN: 1-57322-938-5
Page count: 216pp
Publisher: Riverhead
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2002


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