The Barnes & Noble Review
Olivia Goldsmith burst onto the publishing scene in 1991 with the phenomenal success of her first novel, The First Wives Club. Her exposé of middle-aged men and their collection of trophy wives spoke to jilted audiences the world over. The film adaptation brought women storming to the box office in droves, the more crazed fans having formed clubs of their own.
Now Goldsmith is back with The Bestseller, this time taking on the elusive world of book publishing with her scathing and hilarious style. From power lunches to glamorous book parties, from closed-conference whisperings to the grueling reality of the book-publicity tour, Goldsmith chronicles the blood, sweat, and tears shed in the struggle to succeed in the publishing industry.
The Bestseller is the story of five authors, five novels, one publisher, one fall list, and only one bestseller. Davis & Dash is one of New York City's top trade-book publishers, but the company is not without its struggles and conflicting personalities as it fights to produce the strongest list of new books for the industry's crucial fall season. In presenting the race to the coveted bestseller list, Goldsmith introduces a colorful cast of characters that are amazingly true to life a broad array of authors, editors, literary agents, and booksellers whose lives intersect as each character eagerly pursues his or her own aspirations and agendas.
Goldsmith's appropriately named The Bestseller is a must-read for starving artists and established authors alike. The novel may be fictional, but this dishy newnovel"skewers the publishing industry and many of its real-life movers and shakers" (Newsday). Goldsmith herself suffered through 26 rejections before her first novel was accepted for publication, and as a result, having experienced the industry firsthand, she has woven a great deal of truth into the lines of The Bestseller.
Washington Post Book World
Lots of romance and revenge.
Great summer reading.
You keep licking your fingers and reaching for the next page as if it were a potato chip.
A mordantly dishy new novel that skewers the publishing industry and many of its real life movers and shakers.
This dishy roman à clef will serve as a clever parable about insecure writers, sharklike agents, and corrupt publishers.
Mary Frances Wilkens
This lengthy tale about the publishing industry has everything you want in popular fiction. It starts with hordes of characters, many of them without much character, a few you really wish you knew, and a few with such sad lives you're thankful you don't know them. The novel is set in an industry fraught with egos that are elevated through obscene advances and then deflated by the fickle, faceless publishing conglomerates who demand sure thing after sure thing. At the center of the story is Davis & Dash, an old, prestigious imprint under enormous pressure from its corporate owners to produce another best-selling fall list. D & D President Gerald Ochs Davis (GOD to his minions) is straining not only to acquire books that will sell but also to write a hit himself to make up for the poor performance of his last few titles. But Gerald is not the only D & D blockbuster author who needs to rekindle sales. It's obviously time to recruit fresh, young authors, so Pam Mantiss, the unscrupulous editor-in-chief, and Emma Ashton, Pam's top editor, who would love nothing more than to actually publish high-quality books, stake their reputations on unknown authors. These struggling writers are the interesting characters who give meat to what might otherwise have been a cliched plot. Goldsmith digs deep into the incestuous world of publishing, masterfully merging fiction with reality. "The Bestseller, "already sold to Paramount," "is itself a sure thing.
A master of high-concept fiction (Fashionably Late, 1994, etc.) returns with a likely bestseller about writing a bestsellera meaty send-up of publishing told with intelligence, wit, and shameless enthusiasm.
Goldsmith claims Rona Jaffe territory with the cross-cut stories of five writers whose novels appear on the fall list of Davis & Dash, a floundering Manhattan publishing house. Susan Baker Edmonds, 63, once a legal secretary in Cincinnati, has been a bestselling romance writer for decades. In an author tour from hell (42 cities in six weeks), she battles to boost her circulation. The Cinderella figure is Camilla Clapfish, 29, a poor-but-virtuous British tour guide who fights loneliness by writing a gentle book about middle-aged women on a bus trip through Italy. In upstate New York, meanwhile, Judith and Daniel Gross collaborate on a commercial venture about a mother who kills her children. Judith will write, Daniel will edit and sell. But Daniel gets greedy and claims sole authorship. The lone male author is Gerald Ochs Davis, Jr. (monogram GOD), the Michael Korda-esque publisher of Davis & Dash who supports three wives and a mistress with his bestsellers. Finally, there's Bloomington, Indiana, librarian Opal O'Neal, in town to sell the 1,114-page manuscript written by her daughter Terry, who, after her 27th rejection letter, hanged herself. Along with a ton of old gossip and dropped names (including "the pricks at Kirkus"), Goldsmith melds her tale with a user's guide to publishing ("Now was not the time to think about Alf and his disloyalty, her daughter's wasted life. . . . Now only remember that half of all mass market paperbacks sold were romancesalmost a billion dollars in annual sales").
Despite some lapses in dramatic tension, a bright and entertaining education in bookmaking where the good get bestsellers and the bad never eat in the Grill Room again.