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About the Author: A Novel by John Colapinto


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Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
I read John Colapinto's pieces every now and then in The New Yorker where he is a staff writer, and they are always unfailingly good; most recently he did an article on grease - the fortunes that have been made and lost on used cooking oil and grease. It was interesting enough that I Googled the guy and found he had written a novel, this one: ABOUT THE AUTHOR.

It's an enormously compelling, gripping, "the-plot-thickens-and-then-thickens-again" kind of story about lies, literary theft, blackmail and murder." There's a love story of sorts in there too, along with some pretty kinky AC/DC sex scenes, and the book is not without humor. Set in Manhattan and rural Vermont, the book boasts some very interesting characters, particularly Cal Cunningham, the protagonist-narrator, an aspiring and then dishonestly-and-wildly successful young writer. There are constant plot twists which keep you eagerly turning pages. In other words, a very literary chiller-thriller which hooks you early, plays you skillfully, then slowly reels you in, for a most satisfying, if perhaps slightly unbelievable, conclusion. A sly look at what it takes to be successful as a writer in America today, not without some all-too-true digs at the publishing industry. A quick and entertaining read I would not hesitate to recommend. Colapinto is a facile and talented writer. ( )
  TimBazzett | Dec 29, 2013 |
As someone earlier wrote, it's a gentle thriller---easy to read but somewhat dramatic with what keeps happening when you think it's going to get stuck somewhere! Cleverly written. ( )
  nyiper | Jul 29, 2013 |
I enjoyed this book. It's a bit metafictional. Towards the end the main character, the author of the title, writes about himself writing the book and it's still all part of the book. A little mind-bending. But he's no Italo Calvino or anything. It's pretty much a page turner. Sometimes it seems a little far-fetched, but I was able to accept the premise pretty easily. A good read if you've always wanted to write a novel, but you've never actually written much at all. ( )
  kylekatz | Dec 26, 2011 |
Cal Cunningham is a typical aspiring author in New York City: arrogant, lazy, who would rather do anything but write. So it’s all the more galling when his reclusive, dorky roommate, Stewart, turns out to have written a brilliant novel. Then Stewart is suddenly killed, and Cal seizes the opportunity to become the novelist he always thought he should be.

He doesn’t just steal Stewart’s novel, but also his life, when he begins dating and eventually marries the love of Stewart’s life. Of course, there is always the danger that someone knows the truth, and when she comes forward, the story really gets going.

This is a fun book that possibly could have been a lot more. As we watch Cal’s lies unravel, as pathetic as he is, the reader still feels like calling out advice to him from the wings. The plot gets more and more tortured, though, and I had to wonder if the author had written himself into a situation he couldn’t gracefully get himself out of. ( )
  sturlington | Oct 21, 2011 |
When his law student roommate is killed in an accident, struggling author Cal Cunningham finds the novel Stewart was working on and decides to pass it off as his own.

A quick, captivating read that pulls you right into the story. Highly recommend. ( )
  EvilynJ | Feb 26, 2010 |
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I thought it was time for me to write a novel. I was—what?—twenty-five, twenty-six. Getting to be an old man, as writers go in America.

—John Updike, in an interview
au·thor (o'thar) tr. v. 3. To assume responsibility for the content of (a published or an unpublished text).

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For Donna and Johnny
and in memory of Jim Cormier
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For reasons that will become obvious, I find it difficult to write about Stewart.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060932171, Paperback)

About the Author's Cal Cunningham calls himself a writer, but he's too busy--or too scared--to sit down and actually write anything. He spends his days working as a bookstore stock boy and his nights chasing tail in the bars of Manhattan. Sunday mornings, he spins tales about his conquests to his roommate, a reclusive, hard-working law student named Stewart Church. When Stewart is killed in auto accident, Cal finds in Stewart's desk a novel--a brilliant novel--based on Cal's own exploits. Cal is appalled, and then inspired. He sends the novel off to New York's leading literary agent, claiming it as his own. The book is a smash hit, and as he claims the rewards of literary lionization, Cal convinces himself that he is, really, at bottom, responsible for the writing of the book, if not exactly its author. Things get a bit more complicated when he hooks up with Stewart's ex-girlfriend Janet, eventually marrying her.

The novel convincingly portrays Cal's determined delusion that everything has worked out just as it was meant to be. As he kisses Janet, he thinks how "Stewart's ghost had turned out to be a benevolent specter after all, his spirit helping to shape my destiny, to guide both Janet and me to this moment." Which is all well and good, till Cal discovers that someone else is in possession of a copy of the original manuscript. Author John Colapinto weaves together a farcical tale of literary ambition and a cat-and-mouse thriller as Cal and his blackmailer pursue each other to the very death. --Claire Dederer

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:32 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"Cal Cunningham has always fantasized about being a novelist. But at twenty-five he's far from realizing his dream. Newly arrived in Manhattan, he toils as a bookstore stockboy, lives in a dire neighborhood, and never seems to write anything. How curious, then, that Cal should shortly publish a rollicking autobiographical novel, Almost Like Suicide, that shoots to the top of bestseller lists and sells to the movies for a million dollars. About the Author is Cal's first-person account of how he achieved this remarkable feat. A mysterious roommate, a timely bike accident, and the rapacious literary agent Blackie Yaeger all play a role in Cal's success. Deception, blackmail, and murder all play a role in Cal's desperate bid to hold onto that success."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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