Cal Cunninghman has always fantasized about being a novelist. But at twenty-five, he's far from realizing his dream. Newly arrived in Manhattan, he toils as a bookstore stockboy, lives in a dire neighborhood, and never seems to write anything. How curious, then, that Cal should shortly publish a rollicking autobiographical novel that shoots to the top of bestseller lists and sells to the movies for a million dollars.
About the Author is Cal's first-person account of how he achieved this remarkable feat. A mysterious roommate, a timely bike accident, and the rapacious literary agent Blackie Yaeger all play a role in Cal's success. Deception, blackmail and murder all play a role in Cal's desperate bid to hold onto that success.
Reminiscent of Patricia Highsmith's gripping "Ripley" novels, About the Author is a wickedly funny psychological thriller that not only casts a knowing eye on the excesses of the current Manhattan publishing world, but touches on deeper themes of literary envy, identity, guilt, and the fatal difference between reality and imagination.
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About the Author's Cal Cunningham calls himself a writer, but he's too busy--or too scared--to sit down and actually write anything. He spends his days working as a bookstore stock boy and his nights chasing tail in the bars of Manhattan. Sunday mornings, he spins tales about his conquests to his roommate, a reclusive, hard-working law student named Stewart Church. When Stewart is killed in auto accident, Cal finds in Stewart's desk a novel--a brilliant novel--based on Cal's own exploits. Cal is appalled, and then inspired. He sends the novel off to New York's leading literary agent, claiming it as his own. The book is a smash hit, and as he claims the rewards of literary lionization, Cal convinces himself that he is, really, at bottom, responsible for the writing of the book, if not exactly its author. Things get a bit more complicated when he hooks up with Stewart's ex-girlfriend Janet, eventually marrying her.
The novel convincingly portrays Cal's determined delusion that everything has worked out just as it was meant to be. As he kisses Janet, he thinks how "Stewart's ghost had turned out to be a benevolent specter after all, his spirit helping to shape my destiny, to guide both Janet and me to this moment." Which is all well and good, till Cal discovers that someone else is in possession of a copy of the original manuscript. Author John Colapinto weaves together a farcical tale of literary ambition and a cat-and-mouse thriller as Cal and his blackmailer pursue each other to the very death. --Claire DedererAbout the Author:
John Colapinto has written for Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Esquire, Mademoiselle, Us Weekly, and Rolling Stone, where the landmark National Magazine Award-winning article that was the basis for As Nature Made Him first appeared. He is also the author of the novel About the Author. He lives in New York City with his wife and son.
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