The Girl On The Page by John Purcell

Book blurb…

Two women, two great betrayals, one path to redemption. A punchy, powerful and page-turning novel about the redemptive power of great literature, from industry insider, John Purcell.

Amy Winston is a hard-drinking, bed-hopping, hot-shot young book editor on a downward spiral. Having made her name and fortune by turning an average thriller writer into a Lee Child, Amy is given the unenviable task of steering literary great Helen Owen back to publication.

When Amy knocks on the door of their beautiful townhouse in north west London, Helen and her husband, the novelist Malcolm Taylor, are conducting a silent war of attrition. The townhouse was paid for with the enormous seven figure advance Helen was given for the novel she wrote to end fifty years of making ends meets on critical acclaim alone. The novel Malcolm thinks unworthy of her. The novel Helen has yet to deliver. The novel Amy has come to collect.

Amy has never faced a challenge like this one. Helen and Malcolm are brilliant, complicated writers who unsettle Amy into asking questions of herself – questions about what she values, her principles, whether she has integrity, whether she is authentic. Before she knows it, answering these questions becomes a matter of life or death.

From ultimate book industry insider, John Purcell, comes a literary page-turner, a ferocious and fast-paced novel that cuts to the core of what it means to balance ambition and integrity, and the redemptive power of great literature.

‘Fizzy, ferocious, and ice-pick sharp, packed with wit and heart — think The Devil Wears Prada by way of Bret Easton Ellis. Gulp it down. Or savor it slowly. Just read it’ – AJ Finn, author of international bestseller The Woman in the Window

‘A slick, sharp novel about books and relationships, drenched in delicious insider detail from the book industry. Impossible not to enjoy.’ Matt Haig

‘In The Girl on the Page, John Purcell triumphs with a scalpel in one hand and his heart in the other. It is a gripping, dark comedy of a novel which eviscerates the cynicism of contemporary publishing while uttering a cri du coeur for what is happening to writers and readers this century. Through this dark comedy – I squealed with laughter, page after page – flash questions about cultural life that Purcell asks but leaves us to ponder.’ Blanche d’Alpuget

‘A juicy page turner that takes a scalpel to the literary world, written with deep insider intel and a gleeful sense of mischief, The Girl on the Page is a wickedly clever, razor-sharp satire of lust, betrayal and ambition.’ Caroline Baum

My thoughts…

Like others, I’m struggling to review this book. Is that a good thing for a novel? I’m not sure.

I admit to wanting to read this because of the hype and because the author has a big profile in the book biz. But Girl on a Page has left me confused and that’s not what I look for in a good read.

There is no doubt the author has a way with words and a story to tell. Some of the issues raised will make for great book club discussion and the author’s affinity with books and the publishing biz gives this story an intriguing twist.

I thought the publishing biz relied on labels. Categorising a book into a specific genre is important for many reasons. I’m not sure how this novel is shelved. General Fiction? Literary? Erotica? Some of it reads like soft porn. As a result, what this book has done (for me) is highlight the need for change. Perhaps it’s time the industry introduced a reading guide, similar to what they do on the TV, so that a reader can make informed choses (eg know how much emphasis there is on things like swear words.)

Call me a fuddy-duddy, but in my opinion the use of swear words was a bit OTT in this one. I get that Amy is young and ballsy and I got that she liked to swear from the get-go. The ‘F’ word could have been used less liberally and I would have still got the character. Unfortunately, I tired quickly of the language and started skimming pages.

I’m sure this book will sell well because of all the hype and the insight into the book biz. Not my favourite book this year.

This review is also published on Goodreads

Published by Harper Collins Australia


About Jeannette

I'm living the dream, reading my way around this country and living in a 5th wheeler caravan.
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