The Daily Beast asked some writers — Donna Tartt, Junot Díaz, Chris Adrian, Geoff Dyer, Karen Russell, Sherman Alexie, Siri Hustvedt, Darin Strauss, Téa Obreht, Kathryn Stockett, Alexandra Fuller, Anne Enright, Elisabeth Kostova, Alexander McCall Smith, and me — about our favorite summer books.
Mine is John Colapinto’s first (and, so far, only) novel, About the Author. What I said:
I read John Colapinto’s hilarious, propulsive, and gorgeously written About the Author in a single day almost exactly eight years ago, before the rise, demise, and resurrection of James Frey, when I knew next to nothing about publishing but had great expertise in planning to write and not writing. The novel’s narrator, Cal Cunningham, has also perfected this skill. A supposed wordsmith, he spends his days shelving books at a big midtown bookstore, nights going from bar to bar picking up girls and getting laid, and Sunday mornings filling his dull law student roommate in on his escapades. Our hero’s sense of superiority is shattered when he discovers that the roommate hasn’t been locked in his room typing tedious legal briefs but working on a novel, one that’s actually good, one that sounds suspiciously like Cunningham’s own life, so much so that when the roommate dies unexpectedly… Well, I’ve already said too much, but it’s a remarkable book, a confessional literary thriller that makes you care about its plagiarist narrator even as it reveals him to be a coward and a liar and satirizes the publishing and media world that exalts him.
I’ve been blogging so long, I can point exactly to when I first read About the Author, a gift from Emma early in our friendship. (I didn’t know then that the novel took Colapinto thirteen years to write. No judgment here.)
Head over to the Daily Beast for the other picks.