Muse by Jonathan Galassi (♦♦♦♦)

Book blurb taken from Barnes & Noble, because after finishing this novel I couldn’t quite summarize it on my own:

Paul Dukach is heir apparent at Purcell & Stern, one of the last independent publishing houses in New York, whose shabby offices on Union Square belie the treasures on its list. Working with his boss, the flamboyant Homer Stern, Paul learns the ins and outs of the book trade—how to work an agent over lunch; how to swim with the literary sharks at the Frankfurt Book Fair; and, most important, how to nurse the fragile egos of the dazzling, volatile authors he adores.

But Paul’s deepest admiration has always been reserved for one writer: poet Ida Perkins, whose audacious verse and notorious private life have shaped America’s contemporary literary landscape, and whose longtime publisher—also her cousin and erstwhile lover—happens to be Homer’s biggest rival. And when Paul at last has the chance to meet Ida at her Venetian palazzo, she entrusts him with her greatest secret—one that will change all of their lives forever.

Absorbing, amusing at times, addictive, and erudite (I had to consult the dictionary every two seconds), Muse is an insider's look at the publishing world, taking place in a fictional publishing house, probably not all that different than real ones in the business.

All the personalities of the book world are depicted here: the larger-than-life author divas and the needy ones, the backstabbing agents, the feuding publishers, the entitled critics...All wonderfully dissected. Instead of emerging as the emotional vampires they very well may be, these personae come alive in full glory, with defects and virtues, but all too human.

DISCLAIMER: I received from the publisher a free Galley of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Comments

  1. I remember seeing this one when I was doing my BEA research and thought about requesting an ARC, then ended up passing. Then, this is literally the next I've heard of it and now you've made me want to read it!

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    1. I liked it very much, Sarah, but apparently is a hit or miss; most ratings on Amazon are four and three stars, though I had a great time with this one.

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  2. This sounds like a fascinating read - another for my TBR list.

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    1. It's very slim (272 pages) and read very fast, Dorothy.

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  3. Thanks for reading and reviewing this one! Being the book nerd I am, I was thinking I should read the book, now I am sure I will. But did it disillusion you about the publishing business?

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    1. Absolutely not; I thought it was a fun read, particularly the heads of both publishing houses. They had colorful ways to call people.

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  4. I had heard of this one and liked the premise but then I never followed through on getting it. The whole idea of being inside a publishing house or the publishing world always seems fascinating and entertaining to me. Glad you think it's a good one!

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    1. I liked it a lot, and that was surprising because I found its language rather challenging. What would I do without Kindle?!

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  5. I've not heard of this one but it does sound good. I like the concept.
    Lynn :D

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    1. It was very well executed. I had a good time reading this one.

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