Friday, April 2, 2010

Ghosting by Jennie Erdal


With a tag line like this - "Fascinating . . . Beautifully written . . . very funny and psychologically complex." - how could I pass it up?

I stumbled upon Ghosting - A Double Life by Jennie Erdal in a used book store and knew right away that I would love it . . . funny how that happens. It's a quick read and full of wisdom about the art of writing and the psychology behind a ghostwriting relationship. Erdal's employer, whom she dubs 'Tiger' keeping him otherwise anonymous, is a showy big-wig in the the London publishing scene. Erdal's mastery of the English language and knack for comic timing makes this odd and obsessive man and their strange story somehow endearing.

She begins, in the prologue, with a disclaimer of sorts:

~Ghostwriting is not new. It might almost qualify as the oldest profession if prostitution had not laid prior claim. And there is more than a random connection between the two: they both operate in rather murky worlds, a fee is agreed upon in advance and given 'for services rendered', and those who admit to being involved, either as client or service-provider, can expect negative reactions - anything from mild shock and disapproval to outright revulsion. pg xiv

And then goes on to describe her evolving career . . .

~Interviews, newspaper articles, book reviews are all very well, but the real test is the novel. He lowers his voice at this point, enunciating each word slowly, a sure sign of scarcely being able to contain his excitement, elongating the word real to a disturbing length. He is captivated by the idea. This is not a whim. I know the difference between a whim and a serious proposition. This is a serious proposition. He will not be dissuaded. The tiger is not for turning. I feel the familiar panic pitching its tent somewhere in my lower abdomen .

'We need to evolve' he says.

I do not demur. pg 126

~The fact that I was writing as someone else - with mask on, as it were - inevitably added yet another layer of complexity. I did and did not feel responsible for the words on the page, I did and did not feel that they belonged to me; I did and did not feel that I could defend them in my heart. pg140

~And yet his sentences were a riot of hangings and danglings, while the subject and predicate, being scarcely ever on speaking terms, always put up a fearful fight before being mediated into a suspension of hostilities. pg228

Ha! If only I had had Jenny Erdal as an English teacher my grammar would not be so rusty.

2 comments:

Beth said...

Great excerpts – I love her writing style and attitude.

trish said...

I had so many excerpts bookmarked it was hard to decide which ones to use!