Book info

About The Author (2002)

About the Author (2002)
Rating
3.75 of 5 Votes: 4
ISBN
0060932171 (ISBN13: 9780060932176)
languge
English
publisher
harper perennial
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About The Author (2002)
About The Author (2002)

About book: This is an immensely entertaining book that consistently subverts the reader's expectations. It is both a farce and a noir thriller (a neat trick, as I can't recall reading anything like it before), and an astute and biting commentary on literature and the book business. Aspiring (or actual) writers will enjoy Colapinto's hapless protagonist, Cal Cunningham, a would-be novelist whose authorial struggles suck him into a vortex of lying, cheating, stealing, and killing (n.b., I am not giving away plot points). But any reader who appreciates a great plot will love it, too. For Colapinto expertly lures the reader through a series of reversals, each topping the last. Just when Cal appears to disappear down the toilet, he pops back up, like a buoyant and stubborn turd. Incidentally, Cal shares this quality with another key character, and the interaction of these two turds (yes, I really did write that) propels the novel to a satisfying and suitably absurd ending. That Colapinto effects these surprises without straining credibility (too much) is a credit to the screwball atmosphere he establishes at the beginning of the novel.The novel has a few weak points. There are some jarring notes (mostly factual inaccuracies)--minor issues that would have been revised with closer editing. For example, Cal takes a flight from Newark, NJ to Burlington, VT on a 747. The venerable "jumbo jet" is many things, but a short-haul regional aircraft is not one of them. 737 is probably what the author intended. The first part of the novel is set in the early 1990s, yet the author describes "double-breasted smoothies with their gold cards and Rolexes". While "double-breasted smoothies" is a neat phrase, evocative of some sort of exotic bird, the image as a whole belongs more in power-suit 1980s of Tom Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities". The early 90s were a return to single-breasted suits (with proliferating buttons and pleated pants), and Amex's Platinum Card (first offered in 1984) had superseded its gold card in terms of cache. But I am quibbling. (Pointing these things out suggests more about my own failings than it does about the author's.) A more significant problem is the weakness of one of the major female characters, Janet; Colapinto never really gets beyond his physical description of her. Indeed, Colapinto spends too much time on the whole dwelling on people's appearances. The novel is a good example of my inverse theory of external and internal characterization: the more vivid the physical description of a character, the less vivid the inner (psychological and emotional) description. (Yes, I just invented that, though others have expressed the same idea in different terms. "Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!") Cal is psychologically and emotionally vivid, but his appearance is ambiguous enough that the reader's imagination is free to conjure up any number of faces that would fit. Janet's appearance is described in great detail, yet the reader never really understands her very well. Perhaps this is owing to the novel's voice (first person, from Cal's perspective), and Janet is to the reader as Cal sees her. But this explanation is still unsatisfying, for it fails to explain Cal's devotion to her. But enough about that. As that great rabbit philosopher, Thumper, once observed: "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all." So, back to to the nice.Colapinto's book is excellent. Cal's reliably bad decisions are the leitmotif of this very funny and engaging story. Despite Cal's failings (or perhaps because of them) the reader never tires of, nor loses sympathy for him in this memorable novel. Highly recommended.

Reaching back to the tales of Hitchcock, About the Author creates a world of deception, secrecy, theft, and possibly murder through Cal Cunningham and his ambition for literary fame. While not overly complicated, it was overall a quick and fun read. The best literary moment came, however, towards the last section when the plot caught up with the narrator. It was a very interesting shift in storytelling! Some excellent phrasing in a sometimes predictable plot. Definitely worth the reading experience. "Yet for several days I found it impossible to disturb with a single word the surface tension of the page, which sat, quivering with bright expectancy, in the glare of my desk lamp. As the days passed, I realized that it wasn't so much inspiration that I lacked; it was something more basic to the writer's mental and emotional makeup. I'm talking about the megalomaniacal confidence, the sheet cosmic audacity, that permits a mortal to attempt the sacrilege of setting in motion a world."
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Reviews
Bill Keefe
Don't let the "3" fool you. I enjoyed this book. It was a really good read.The book engages you right away but with an, i don't know, tongue-in-cheek voice that is weaving a mystery but simultaneously staying aloof and poking fun at the idea. Hard to describe but a bit like British humor, Evelyn Waugh, et. al.Anyway, the author keeps the pace up, throws in many plot twists and makes you want to keep reading despite - again- the fact that you don't dare get too deeply engrossed in this farce.If you're not the type that requires "great" literature to be satisfied, try this book. It's not a great movie but it's pretty good television.
Lidija
Već jako dugo nisam čitala ovako dobar krimić ,kao što je roman "Bilješka o piscu", kanadskog pisca Johna Colapinta.Glavni protagonist romana je Cal Cunnigham, 25-godišnji skladištar u New Yorku, kojemu je životna želja biti poznat i slavni pisac. Sve bi bilo lako, da se upravo on ne bori s jednom "sitnicom" koja je jako važna da bi postao pisac, a to je nedostatak inspiracije za pisanje.Život mu se svodi na često mijenjanje žena različitih godina i zanimanja, a svoje ljubavne egzibicije priča svom cimeru Stewartu, povučenom i stidljivom studentu prava.Stewart potajno piše roman o Calovom životu i kad mu to jednoga dana ovaj saopći, Cal biva iznenađen.Tragičnim spletom okolnosti Stewart pogine u automobilskoj nesreći, a Cal "prisvaja" njegov roman i objavljuje pod svojim imenom. I ne samo to. Cal upoznaje i Stewartovu prijašnju djevojku, ljubav njegova života i ženi ju. Naravno, roman ne bi bio tako uzbudljiv, da se ne pojavljuje osoba koja ga ucjenjuje.To je kratak sadržaj ovog, po meni uzbudljivog i napetog romana, koji sam pročitala i koji me je vukao na čitanje do zadnje stranice.Ono što mi se iznimno svidjelo u ovom romanu je upravo taj hitchcockovski stil , a to znači da ovdje zaista ne nedostaje napetosti i naglih obrata situacije.Roman se bavi pitanjem moralnosti, iskrenosti, prevare i ucjene, ali i najvažnije stvari , a to je plagijat već napisanog dijela.Koliko su neki kadri ići da bi živjeli na tuđoj slavi?Kako se sve završilo, neću vam reći. Svakako uzmite roman i pročitajte. Nećete požaliti.
Helena (Renchi King)
Uzbudljivo,domišljato i fascinantno.Colapinto piše s takvom lakoćom.Čitajući njegove retke,imala sam u glavi sliku dječaka koji na povjetarcu drži hrpu balona i smiješi se mogućnosti da mu svi,htio-ne htio,odlete...Eto,upravo mi tako izgleda njegovo pisanje.Prelagano,prejednostavno i samo što ne izmakne kontroli! Ali neće izmaći...on vrlo vješto upravlja radnjom i vodi je u nepogrešivom smjeru.Priča o dva mladića,cimera koji žive u skromnoj garsonjericu u New Yorku..Jedan krade Bogu dane,umišlja da je pisac (već poduže bez inspiracije),a drugi..povučeni student prava.I dok nerealizirani pisac redovno prepričava svoje ljubavne pothvate svom cimeru,ovaj ih uredno (potajno)natipkava i pretvara u svoj prvi roman.Sudbina je htjela da pravi pisac romana sasvim glupo smrtno nastrada u prometnoj nesreći.Prilika je tu..rukopis završava u krivim (pravim!)rukama,dolazi do izdavača i naš dečko u kratkom vremenu postaje planetarno popularan mladi pisac...I onda počinje zanimljiva priča...Jedna laž vodi drugoj,čisto izazivanje vraga..dok ne stignu posljedice..Naš pisac nije negativna osoba,sudbina mu je namijenila vrlo čudnovat put spisateljske afirmacije."Progutat " ćete ovu knjigu,stranice se okreću same od sebe,a znatiželja vas neće ostaviti na miru...Stil pisanja je vrlo lagan,ne zamara,a ujedno je vrlo konkretan i duhovit.Baš sam se ugodno iznenadila.Ovo je bila Lidijina preporuka i hvala joj od sveg srca što je predstavila ovu knjigu.Tako ju i ja sada,od srca preporučam dalje..
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