From memoirist Ginsberg (About My Sisters, 2004, etc.), a romantic satire about the publishing industry that combines what the heroine herself calls “bite the boss” with “bit the assistant” fiction.
Spurred on by her aspiring-writer boyfriend Malcolm, Angel takes a job as personal assistant to powerful San Francisco literary agent Lucy Fiamma. Lucy, who gained prominence by discovering the wildly successful Alaskan memoir Cold!, by the reclusive author Karanak, gets the job done for her authors, but she is a vicious, heartless slave-driver with no real love for books or writers. But Lucy is no fool, and she quickly discovers that Angel, who worked in an independent bookstore until it closed, has a natural gift for finding promising manuscripts and whipping them into shape. Soon, Angel discovers Damiano Vero, a handsome Italian pastry-chef whose memoir recounting his drug addiction and recovery sells at auction for $500,000. Angel has a few more promising manuscripts in process when she receives an anonymous submission, a novel called Blind Submission, about a literary agency. Angel recognizes that the book is trashy but highly saleable, and Lucy quickly decides to represent the still-anonymous author. Then the chapters Angel begins receiving by e-mail have an increasingly familiar ring. Meanwhile, she and Malcolm break up after his book is rejected by the agency. Angel becomes involved with Damiano. As the chapters of B.S. (hint, hint) pile up, Angel realizes that someone is far too familiar with her life. Who is the author and why is he or she out to get Angel? Ginsberg comes across as an insider who is having a lot of fun skewering the seamier aspects of publishing. Although Angel mentions more than once that books about publishing don’t sell, Ginsberg’s own novel—The Devil Wears Prada meets All About Eve—wants to entertain the masses.
Juicy, if superficial and guilty of many of the very tricks it skewers.