Enjoyable tale of deceit and deception

‘One in two Britons wants to become a writer... Are you sure you want to join the rat race?’ So opens the blurb on the back of Alessandro Gallenzi’s debut novel Bestseller. By the end of it, you will most likely despair at the fickle world we live in – and none too pleased with the publishing world either. By Shane Creevy.

Jim Talbot has always known he would write a bestseller. Regularly thwarted by publicists, reviewers and agents who ignore him, he is nonetheless assured that he will become the next JK Rowling.

Charles Randall is the eccentric founder of Tetragon Press and is about to be ousted from his position.

The tale follows the fortunes of both these characters, neither of which are wholly positive – one ends up frustrated but rich, the other in a hospital for the insane.

The novel is bolstered by a large cast of secondary characters, each of whom are well developed and rounded individuals who bring something to the plot, each in their own way.

Bestseller is quite a humorous novel. Thankfully. Had it taken itself too seriously it would have risked becoming bland.

But Gallenzi’s tight writing style often registers a chuckle along the way. Gallenzi himself should know a bit about publishing – he is the founder of Hesperus Books, Oneworld Classics and Alma Books.

The latter is a particularly interesting and daring independent. Among others, Alma Books has recently published The Very Thought of You by Rose Alison (soon to be reviewed here on Politico) and, of course, Bestseller.

If nothing more, the mere existence of vibrant publishing companies adds colour to the industry. Hopefully they can continue to produce works of merit that inspire debate and thought.

Bestseller is a perfect holiday-read but, despite its truths, not to be taken too seriously.

Bestseller by Allesandro Gallenzi

Alma Books