How I Became a Famous Novelist

How I Became a Famous Novelist

3.67 (3,150 ratings by Goodreads)
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In this blistering evisceration of celebrity culture and literary fame, a roguish loser sets out to write the best-sellingest best seller of all time. When he actually pulls it off, he winds up tearing like a tornado across America's cultural landscape. What Pete Tarslaw wants is simple enough: FAME-Realistic amount. Enough to open new avenues of sexual opportunity. Personal assistant to read mail, grocery shop, etc. FINANCIAL COMFORT-Never have a job again. Retire. Spend rest of life lying around, pursuing hobbies (boating? skeet shooting?) STATELY HOME BY THE OCEAN (OR SCENIC LAKE)-Spacious library, bay windows, wet bar. HD TV, discreetly placed. Comfortable couch. HUMILIATE EX-GIRLFRIEND AT HER WEDDING This is the story of how he succeeds in getting it all, and what it costs him in the end. Narrated by an unlikely literary legend, How I Became a Famous Novelist pinballs from the postcollege slums of Boston to the fear-drenched halls of Manhattan's publishing houses, from the gloomy purity of Montana's foremost writing workshop to the hedonistic hotel bars of the Sunset Strip. This is the horrifying, hilarious tale of how Pete Tarslaw's "pile of garbage," called The Tornado Ashes Club, became the most talked about, blogged about, read, admired, and reviled novel in America. It will change everything you think you know-about literature, appearance, truth, beauty, and those people who still care about books. It is the winner of the 2010 Thurber Prize for American more

Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 132 x 198 x 23mm | 236g
  • Little, Brown Book Group
  • Corsair
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1849015724
  • 9781849015721
  • 39,840

About Steve Hely

Steve Hely was a writer for The Late Show with David Letterman and the acclaimed animated comedy American Dad. He is also coauthor of the comic travelogue The Ridiculous more

Review quote

Brilliant... How I Became a Famous Novelist is a cheeky book and a brave one, all but naming real-life literary emperors sans clothes... I was sold and sold again... [by Hely's] subtle zingers... The cynicism is delicious, the humor never broad, with just enough modesty and conscience seeping into the story to make our con artist lovable... I may have read a funnier book in the last twenty years, but at this moment I'm hard-pressed to name it. -- Elinor Lipman Washington Post A gleeful skewering of the publishing industry and every cliche of the writing life. New York Times Book Review A hilarious send-up of literary pretensions and celebrity culture. USA Today Steve Hely needed to know how to write very well in order to write as miserably as he does in How I Became a Famous Novelist. In a satirical novel that is a gag-packed assault on fictitious best-selling fiction, Mr. Hely... takes aim at genre after genre and manages to savage them all. Without really straining credulity, [his] travels through the world of publishing become exuberantly farflung. Mr. Hely has deftly clobbered the popular-book business, [taking] aim at lucrative 'tidy candy-packaged novels you wrapped up and gave as presents,' the kinds of books that go 'from store shelves to home shelves to used-book sales unread.' His complaints about such books are very funny. They'd be even funnier if they weren't true. New York Times How I Became a Famous Novelist has a laugh-out-loud quotient inappropriately high for reading in public. St. Louis Post-Dispatch Hely's story offers a pitch-perfect takeoff on the insipid conventions of the best-seller racks and combines the expected caustic wit with an unexpected depth of emotional insight. Austin American-Statesman I doubt I'll read a funnier book this year. Scotland on Sunday Clever. I found myself almost crying with laughter. Should be read by anyone with a passing interest in the state of modern literature. Independent on Sunday Wincingly funny. Daily Mail A superb expose of the book world. Big Issue Very entertaining. Independent The humour is so thick and fast and brimming with punchy, unforgettable one-liners. Booktrustshow more

Rating details

3,150 ratings
3.67 out of 5 stars
5 19% (611)
4 41% (1,287)
3 30% (943)
2 7% (235)
1 2% (74)
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