About the Author: A Novel
This was first put on my radar when Jennifer Weiner mentioned it as an all-time favorite in WSIRN Episode 234: The Recipe for a Delicious Summer Read. Fun and twisty, this 2002 novel is about an author behaving badly—which seems to be a common theme around here lately, as you'll see when you open up the 2021 Summer Reading Guide. Jen shared such an enticing synopsis on the podcast: "[It's about] a young man who is desperate to be a published author and his nerdy roommate who it turns out is secretly writing a book. Then the nerdy roommate dies in a tragic accident and what does the aspiring young writer do? Discover his work in progress, take it to a literary agent, publish it as his own, and everything is going great except then it turns out the roommate might not be as dead as we thought."
Despite a severe case of writer’s block, Cal Cunningham dreams of writing a novel that will permit him to escape from his life as a penniless stockboy in dirty and dangerous upper Manhattan bookstore. However, when his roommate is suddenly killed in a bicycle accident, Cal is suddenly the author of a page-turning autobiography. Propelled to the top of the bestseller lists with million-dollar movie deals, Cal finds that he has realized his most outlandish fantasies of literary success. That is, until he discovers that someone knows his secret.
A searingly funny psychological thriller, About the Author delves into the excesses of the publishing world and shows that sometimes the difference between reality and imagination can be fatal.