A farce from Holden (Farm Fatale, 2000, etc.) based on the oh-so-’80s notion that books are the new rock ’n’ roll, writers more fascinating than movie stars.
Grace Armiger, book publicist, mingles with England’s literary elite at exhaustingly hip parties. Scurrilous rumors and scandal are served up with the hors d’oeuvres as the bestselling authors of buzzworthy books drink themselves blind and backbite like mad. Is it true that Shooting Up, a coming-of-ager set in the South London projects, was actually not written by the spiky-haired, haggard young thing on the back cover? Did Airhead really win the Literary Review’s Bad Sex Award for the silliest spank-and-wank scene? Grace is distracted by Henry Moon, a raffishly sexy adventure author who goes down the Amazon as casually as ordinary mortals take the Tube. And then there’s Red Campion, action-movie star and global sex symbol, who wants her to have the first peek at what she assumes is a Hollywood kiss-and-tell. Enter Belinda Black, tabloid reporter with designs on the Globe’s celebrity-interviews column, written by the plump and plain Mo Mills, who knows just how to fawn over the rich and famous. But Belinda knows she could do better, and she needs a killer story, true or not. If only she could get her hands on the galleys of Red’s book! Lo and behold, he pressed a proof copy into Grace’s hands shortly before bedding her—and so Grace is the first to find out that it’s not Hollywood at all but a science-fiction potboiler about the US President turning into a frog (would Americans notice?). Fortunately, she’s distracted by a charming new book, The Neds of Twinky Bay. But who is its mysterious author? Could it be Henry? When the title lands on the bestseller lists, all is revealed, love triumphs, and wicked Belinda gets her comeuppance.
Spiteful roman à clef with some funny lines, though veddy British and brittle overall.