How I Became A Famous Novelist
by Steve Hely
Like Alessandro Gallenzi’s Bestseller, this novel scathingly upturns the novelist’s ethic with an exploration into finding the perfect bestselling formula. Where Bestseller veered off into a caper, The Office (US) writer Hely’s book is more about the jokes, the one liners and the curse of the dreaded internet in virally making megastars out of mediocrity.
Pete Tarslaw wants to be famous, he wants to shove his about-to-marry-someone-else ex-girlfriend’s face in his success. The only option is to write a bestseller. The problem is he has to write a bestseller. After a period of researching the most clichéd, successful and turgid possible plots, he settles on The Tornado Ashes Club, taking in every single successful contrivance he can – a grandson tries to his grandmother a tornado she can throw the ashes of a long-dead lover into. The book becomes the most blogged about, talked-about book in town, and it really does stink.
Hely’s parody of the populist book industry, taking down such unsacred cows as Dan Brown, relies a little too much on the reader being the sort of respected highbrow literati who hates books like The Da Vinci Code, rather than one of its many million fans, but the humour is so thick and fast and brimming with punchy, unforgettable one-liners, you’ll forgive the conceit of the conceit and go along for the ride.