What words can I use to describe About the Author, Colapintoís first novel? Madcap? Comedy? Suspense? Thriller? Farce? Satire? Itís not that Iím indecisive about selecting the appropriate descriptive; itís that this novel is all of those things and more. Much more.
Stephen King is quoted on the cover of this novel as saying ďA thriller worthy of Hitchcock at his best.Ē I agree, but only if heís referring to North by Northwest Ė a darkly comedic thriller. The main character, Cal Cunningham, is more vintage Woody Allen both in narrative style and level of neuroses. Cal is a stockboy at a New York City bookstore; all his life heís dreamed of becoming a published author. Itís in his blood, he knows heís good Ė until he reads Stewart Churchís short story.
Stewart is Calís roommate. He is also the person who has unknowingly destroyed Calís dream. Shortly after reading Stewartís story, Cal has an epiphany Ė his life long dream is just that, a dream. A dream eclipsed by Stewartís brilliant prose. Cal collects all his childhood scribblings and recent attempts at writing and buries them in the kitchen garbage. Before the shock can wear off, Cal discovers two things about Stewart: one, he has written a novel, and two, heís dead. Well, actually he discovers three things, the third being that Stewart has incorporated Calís ribald retelling of his one-night-stands into a masterpiece of a novel. Iím not giving anything away, this all happens within the first few chapters and itís also summarized on the back of the book. Get ready for fraud, mayhem and murder. Thatís just the beginning. The ensuing rollercoaster ride of comic suspense reminded me of the classic anti-heroes created by Patricia Highsmith in The Talented Mr. Ripley and Patrick Suskind in Perfume.
The story bursts with plot twists akin to The Player, a movie that lampooned (or is it revealed?) Hollywoodís power players. Imagine the world of publishing being skewered with the same razor-sharp wit and you get an idea of what Colapinto accomplishes in this novel. Youíll even forgive him the cliches because they are at the heart of this literary satire. The characters who populate this novel are richly drawn, deeply complex people -- and by that I mean you should cross the street if you see them coming. Imagine Woody Allen producing MacBeth with a rewrite by Kurt Vonnegut. I canít tell you anymore about the story because you wouldnít believe me Ė youíll have to read this treasure for yourself.