From Publishers Weekly
In his debut novel, a sardonic take on the New York publishing world, Wenzel wryly dissects the troubled writing lives of two authors, one a talented newcomer sidetracked by fame and the other a disillusioned veteran. Kyle Clayton, a young writer whose first novel brought him literary stardom, is now a drunken failure, creatively spent. Lionized by the Gen-X set, Clayton faces increasing pressure from his publisher to either produce or pay back the huge advance for his contracted second novel, due four years earlier. Meanwhile, Richard Whitehurst, termed the "most underrated writer in America," fights to keep his career and life together after his new novel, a magnum opus 10 years in the making, falls short of expectations, gleaning positive reviews but selling only a few copies. While Richard struggles with depression and a sexless marriage, Kyle plots an escape from his emotionally draining relationship with an aging patron, who refuses to give him the loan that will free him from her control. Following a highly anticipated meeting at a literary party, Kyle agrees to a summer stay at Richard's Hamptons house, where the spectacle of the Whitehurst family's deterioration forces him to mature and take stock of his own life as a man and writer. Against a solid backdrop of the glittering New York literary world, Wenzel's stinging barbs frequently hit their targets, making astute statements about the hazards of the writing life without sacrificing anything in plot or characterization. Wenzel also gives the reader a final treat in a wild, harrowing wrap-up, ensuring that this novel will stand out from the summer pack. (July) Forecast: This book's funny and disturbing content should generate sufficient word of mouth to fuel respectable sales. It should also interest anyone who loves books or the behind-the scenes intrigue of the publishing business.
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