Monday, May 17, 2010

Book Club In The Comments?

So I had this nice, relaxing weekend, wherein I did a lot of reading, including the funny, satirical novel How I Became A Famous Novelist by Steve Hely.  It's a novel that did something few novels I read do:  it made me wish I was in an actual book club - that is, the meet-in-person kind.  (As most of you know, I only belong only to The Lazy Person's Reading Group, which, incidentally, is due for another installment, though that's a topic for another post.)

Anyway.  The reason I wish I were in a group for this particular book is that I have a question about the novel's ending.  So, if you've read it, pop into the Comments section.

Spoiler Alert!
***If you haven't read the book, stay out of the Comments section, because I completely give away the ending.***


Debbie Diesen said...


The Comments section gives away the book's ending. So avert your eyes and click yourself away if you haven't read it yet. I'm going to put in a bunch of blank lines before I get to my question.

Debbie Diesen said...

OK, well the blank line thing didn't work, but hopefully I'm far enough down that the only people reading the comments section know that they shouldn't read on unless they have finished the book.

So here's my question.

At the end, when the narrator Pete Tarslaw seems to come full circle and humbly embrace the power and importance of a well-written story, is he sincere? Or has he simply transferred his con to the writing of bestselling memoir (hitting all the points of rise, fall, and personal transformation)?

That is, is the book ultimately sentimental/hopeful, or is it satirical through and through? My gut tells me the latter (that the novel is a send-up not only of the modern novel but also of the modern memoir), but I'd be interested in other interpretations.

What was that your read of it?

Claire said...

That is SUCH a great question, Debbie. When I read it, the ending disappointed me because I felt like his turn from absolute cynic to realizing there are some people writing good books out there didn't ring true. But your interpretation totally justifies it. In that case, it parallels the movie "Adaptation" which I love--and where the ending is deliberately awful because he sells out, Hollywood style.