Published by Piatkus Books on August 29th 2002
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Living on a remote island under an assumed name, novelist Parker Evans guards his secrets well. Fascinated by this reclusive genius, publisher Maris Matherly-Reed decides to pursue him. But this new project threatens an old commitment, a commitment at the very center of her life.
The massive perspective shift after the prologue had me moist in excitement, portending the use of literary techniques that make literary classics, not just pulp fiction bestsellers. Throw in the self-referential writing, the numerous meta-thoughts on what writing craft and technique should be and I would normally be found salivating in my own literary corner. But what do you do when you’ve figured out the plot device, the twist and turn (not entirely by coincidence but by extrapolation) when the first 60 pages have gone by?
Focus on the characters, the quality of the writing and the growing action, while thinking at the back of your mind ‘Yeah, I guessed as much’ as I ploughed through the book. The history of 2 rival boys chronicled in a novel threw enough light on Noah’s and Parker’s early (and morally loose) years, and I found no connection with them at all as they pursued their writing careers with as much decadence and hedonism as they could. In fact, Maris’s way of empathising with the books’ characters made me question her grasp of reality, just as I wondered if she was there to cast Parker in a more heroic light and nothing more. The characters seemed to shed their depth (the reverse of what it should be – Noah’s shades of grey became a black flag of evil, Maris became opaquely naive and Parker just grew bent on revenge) as the plot hurtled towards its inevitable and entire unsatisfactory conclusion.