- Hardcover: 355 pages
- Publisher: The Toby Press (September 1, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1592641997
- ISBN-13: 978-1592641994
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 37 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,910,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Grub Hardcover – September 1, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Three no-longer-so-young irony boys and their put-upon wives and girlfriends write, drink, pace the streets of contemporary New York City and occasionally manage to publish a novel or two in this biting remake of George Gissing's 1891 novel New Grub Street. Writer Jackson Miller is willing to give the masses what they want, so long as his star rises. Eddie Renfros, his best friend, is dejected, determined to hold onto both his literary ideals and his increasingly wandering wife, Amanda, who, like Jackson, is bent on worldly success. Henry Baffler is an ascetic devoted only to his craft; and Margot Yarborough is the stern, self-reliant daughter of an aging, cruel literary critic, painstakingly making her way through a novel about lepers in Louisiana. By novel's end, Amanda, Margot and Jackson are all treated to a meal (or several) at Grub, the restaurant favored by the literary elite they long to join, but the costs are many. The author of The Unnatural History of Cypress Parish and Hunger, Blackwell offers a sharp take on the market-driven foibles of fiction and publishing. The milieu is familiar; the characters' grasping behaviors blur and strain credibility. Caricature, however, is the point here: Blackwell nails the contemporary forms taken by some very old ambitions. (Sept.)
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In Hunger (2003) and The Unnatural History of Cypress Parish (2007), Blackwell has proven herself to be an especially thoughtful writer. Here she skewers the publishing world with an insider's perspective. Updating George Gissing's New Grub Street, a satire of the Victorian literary marketplace, Grub features a cast of struggling young writers: anxious Eddie Renfros, who peaked early and whose creativity has been sapped by his efforts to match the success of his debut; his wife, ambitious Amanda, who is tired of supporting Eddie and who has literary talent of her own, as well as a gift for self-promotion; hustler Jackson Miller, whose single-minded goal is to spur a bidding war for his manuscript; sweet Marguerite Yarborough, a true talent who is overshadowed by her father, a once famous critic; and poverty-stricken Henry, fanatically devoted to experimental fiction. The young writers meet with wildly varying fortunes that have nothing to do with their talent and everything to do with marketing. Blackwell keeps the plot churning and the mood light, but there is a disheartening undertone throughout. A cautionary tale for aspiring writers. Wilkinson, Joanne
Top customer reviews
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"To please the vulgar, you must somehow embody the genius of vulgarity. I doubt I have that specialized talent, but I know that I can write for the college-educated dolt."
I sped up to finish the book, as it just got a bit repetitive. I suspect that writers would feel a kinship with the woes of publishing - to write for the muse, or to write for money, etc. But that gets old to read about, I think, for those of us that don't aspire to be authors.