Alessandro Gallenzi - Bestseller (2 stars)

Alessandro Gallenzi - Bestseller

(Alma Books)

Not so much an affectionate look at the world of publishing as a weary procedural of the soul-destroying day-to-day life of those involved in it, Bestseller comes from the heart, at least. Alessandro Gallenzi, a novelist, playwright, poet and publisher, quite possibly writes from exaggerated experience of Jim Talbot, a frustrated amateur author whose thoroughly conditioned social maladjustment gives him ‘a medieval idea of women’ as ‘a mean-spirited enemy of promise’. Charles Randall, meanwhile, is the founder of the independent Tetragon Press, although not for much longer if the business’ new consultant has his way.

There’s a close affiliation with the world described, which will surely raise either smiles or grimaces from those within it. Some dryly amusing lines are offset by a palpable distaste for Talbot’s character but the writing lacks dynamism, slowed down by chunky paragraphs of plot. Gallenzi is also the founder of Alma Books, which may explain how he avoided Jim’s fate.

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