Lost for Words

Lost for Words

Hardback Picador

By (author) Edward St. Aubyn

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  • Publisher: PICADOR
  • Format: Hardback | 272 pages
  • Dimensions: 138mm x 204mm x 30mm | 355g
  • Publication date: 8 May 2014
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0330454226
  • ISBN 13: 9780330454223
  • Sales rank: 7,137

Product description

From the bestselling author of the Patrick Melrose novels, this is a thought-provoking and entertaining insight into a sniping world of literature, celebrity culture and ambition. Each of the judges of the Elysian Prize for literature has a reason for accepting the job. For the chairman, MP Malcolm Craig, it is backbench boredom, media personality Jo Cross is on the hunt for a 'relevant' novel, and Oxbridge academic Vanessa Shaw is determined to discover good writing. But for Penny Feathers of the Foreign Office, it's all just getting in the way of writing her own thriller. Over the next few weeks they must read hundreds of submissions to find the best book of the year, and so the judges spar, cajole and bargain in order that their chosen title gets the recognition it deserves. Meanwhile, a host of authors are desperate for Elysian glory, including brilliant writer and serial heart-breaker Katherine Burns, lovelorn debut novelist Sam Black, and Sonny, convinced that his magnum opus, The Mulberry Elephant, will take the literary world by storm. Lost for Words is razor-sharp and fabulously entertaining. It cuts to the quick of some of the deepest questions about the place of art in our celebrity-obsessed culture, and asks how we can ever hope to recognize real talent when everyone has an agenda.

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Author information

Edward St Aubyn was born in London in 1960. His superbly acclaimed Patrick Melrose novels are Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, Mother's Milk (shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2006) and At Last. He is also the author of the novels A Clue to the Exit and On the Edge.

Review quote

Edward St Aubyn is among the handful of the current giants of English fiction. He has always had an eye for the sort of satire that does not exclude compassion and understanding; now that eye is trained on the absurd world of awarding literary prizes. The results are hilarious! -- Edmund White This is a seriously entertaining and inventive novel by which I mean it is not serious at all but exceptionally entertaining and inventive. And seriously good. Edward St Aubyn is already considered the master of social satire ... With Lost for Words, he cements this reputation and, if anything, surpasses himself ... The writing is brilliantly playful ... A lesser author might have steered clear of such a large cast of characters but St Aubyn manages them effortlessly ... Brilliantly plotted ... In the end, St Aubyn hits a note of truth and optimism. To do this without becoming saccharine and didactic is an amazing achievement ... Please read this book if you're in a bad mood. You will be cured of it. Sunday Express The book is a riot, complete with belly-achingly hilarious pastiches of the bonkers novels that are sent in for the prize to consider Sunday Times Lost for Words is a long-overdue, laugh-out-loud satire on the whole business of literary prizes London Evening Standard [An] intricate satire, written with restless wit ... A gorgeous viciousness is present ... St Aubyn's ear for fakery never falters ... This novel is a pleasure to read Observer Anyone cynical about literary prizes will laugh out loud at Edward St Aubyn's delightful satire ... as his novel hilariously demonstrates, notions of what constitutes literary pedigree are as fickle as the wind ... What makes you smile, and smile and smile is the elegance of the writing. Seldom was so much pretentiousness skewered so stylishly. -- Novel of the Week Mail on Sunday Everything St. Aubyn writes is worth reading for the cleansing rancor of his intelligence and the fierce elegance of his prose -- Anne Enright New York Times Book Review A fizzing satire that neatly skewers all the contradictions and absurdities of literary prize-giving, and the awkward fit between literature and 'celebrity' Daily Telegraph Lost for Words is a witty, often excoriating, riposte to the phenomenon and workings of major book awards Independent Fun, black and brilliant stuff. Lost for Words - puckish, bitchy and shamelessly silly ... Very clever and extremely funny. The Times St Aubyn's latest novel is an entertaining satire on the literary-prize industry, full of splendid jokes Tatler Edward St Aubyn takes a very sharp and deserved satirical knife to a world riddled with agendas, thick with vanity and unable to look beyond itself, otherwise known as the world of literature Press Association With his Patrick Melrose novels Edward St Aubyn confirmed his standing as one of our great literary writers, with a fine elegant style that was both capable of handling pathos, tragedy and heartbreaking humour. In Lost for Words we follow the judges of the Elysian Prize for fiction and the hopeful authors desperate for literary glory. From the chairman of the judges standing up for the reader, to the judge who will consider a book on its length rather than quality, the novel is a thinly-veiled, brilliant satire on literary life and the Man Booker Prize Bath Magazine Edward St Aubyn is easily among the best of contemporary British novelists, writing with a cold crystal-clean precision, creating beautifully-honed sentences and striking metaphors that would be the envy of any writer. In addition he is, in Lost for Words, extremely funny as well, with humour ranging from carefully plotted mishaps and sophisticated put-downs to pure slapstick The Bay The prize should go to Mr St Aubyn, if only for the parodies from his fictional shortlist ... It must have been fun to write and is fun to read Country Life St Aubyn here turns his biting wit on to the whole sorry business of literary prizes in a comedy worthy of the young Evelyn Waugh -- David Sexton Evening Standard This will make you chuckle aloud Country & Town House Shot through with moments of profundity and grace Irish Times [St Aubyn's] humour remains winningly dark and his one-liners elegantly brittle Reader's Digest Not a word is extraneous or a comma out of place Vogue A hilarious, acid-tongued novel Woman & Home Hilarious, elegant and written with effortless insight into people's behaviour. He's such a perceptive writer and does in a few words what would take anyone else several hundred pages -- Elizabeth Day, Best Books of 2014 Guardian Sharp, satirical -- Best Books of 2014 Huffington Post