Delicious combination of confused identities, personal dramas and moral dilemmas in a contemporary chiller from one of our most outstanding novelists For years, Isobel Latimer has composed serious novels for serious people, but to dwindling acclaim and ever-more dwindling financial gain. Now her husband is ill and she must carry the burden of ...
Delicious combination of confused identities, personal dramas and moral dilemmas in a contemporary chiller from one of our most outstanding novelists For years, Isobel Latimer has composed serious novels for serious people, but to dwindling acclaim and ever-more dwindling financial gain. Now her husband is ill and she must carry the burden of their house and his hopes alone, and in secret. But if the public don't want careful moral fables any longer, why not provide them with an outrageous tale of sex and satanism, and an author to match? Isobel, together with her agent, Troy, resolves to change her writing and her appearance, for one book only: the blockbuster that will make her fortune and save her marriage. Once created, the fabulous author Zelda Vere takes on a life of her own, which eclipses Isobel's controlled existence in a way she could never have foreseen. Unexpected vistas open; glamorous possibilities beckon. But are they real, or will they vanish when the media furore dies down? And meanwhile, what's happening at home to her once-predictable marriage? What began with the best of intentions snowballs into a disorienting blur of passion, gender-bending, loss of innocence, betrayal and despair. Isobel Latimer might feel she's on the brink of losing everything, but what would Zelda do?
Publishers Weekly, 2000-12-04 Masquerading as a trashy novelist may solve English writer Isobel Latimer's financial problems, but it also plunges her into a full-fledged identity crisis in Gregory's flighty, overplotted novel. Isobel needs money to support her ailing husband, Philip, and his newfound interest in pool building, so when her agent, Troy Cartwright, informs her that her literary novels are earning less and less, she tells him, "If they won't pay me to write good books, then I'll just have to write bad." She and Troy invent the persona of Zelda Vere, a heavily made-up, well-dressed blonde bombshell, the opposite of 52-year-old country matron Isobel. Zelda's "survivor fiction," The Devil's Disciple, is a major hit that earns Isobel all the money she could ever need, but she finds herself increasingly caught between superego and id, between an unfulfilling loyal marriage and sexual experimentation with Troy. When Isobel sets off on her book tour with Troy, Gregory's plot takes an exotic and erotic turn, depicting a world of cross-dressing, cocaine and champagne. Returning to her home in Kent, Isobel finds Philip miraculously recovered and expending all his energy on the construction of an expensive new pool. Philip has also decided to invest (with Isobel's money) in the handsome pool man's business. Backstabbers reveal themselves, to no one's surprise, and Isobel's deliberations?should she stay or should she go??are prolonged until an abrupt, bewildering denouement puts a stop to the runaway narrative. Gregory, a popular writer of historical fiction (Earthly Joys, etc.), knows whereof she speaks when she describes television interviews and book deals, though the over-the-top fantasy she spins from the details may test readers' patience. (Jan. 16) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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