Bestseller, By Alessandro Gallenzi

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The Independent Culture

As a satire on the literary world, this is much more Carry On Publishing than Pope's Dunciad (even if the latter does get a nod). It reads like an adaptation of Martin Amis's The Information for an ITV2 sitcom.

The cast of bookish failures and nonentities includes a hysterical unpublished scribbler and a refined (but bankrupt) bookman who spars with new brooms in his old firm.

The quest for big-money blockbusters involves Bin Laden memoirs and courtesan capers (Tart à la Carte) before a sister act strikes real gold with I Want to Be Lily Allen. Crude farce, yes – but Gallenzi (who in his day job publishes more elegant books than this) along the way slips in sound insider's judgements on how his business works. Read it for the lowdown on a low trade.