About the book | John Purcell talks about the inspiration behind his characters | What writers are saying | What booksellers are saying | What readers are saying | About the author | Digital assets | Reading copy giveaway
‘Fizzy, ferocious, and ice-pick sharp, packed with wit and heart—think The Devil Wears Prada by way of Bret Easton Ellis. Gulp it down. Or savour it slowly. Just read it.’—A J Finn, author of international bestseller The Woman in the Window
‘A slick, sharp novel about books and relationships, drenched in delicious insider detail from the book industry. Impossible not to enjoy.’—Matt Haig, author of international bestseller Reasons to Stay Alive
About the book
Two women, two great betrayals, one path to redemption.
A punchy, powerful and page-turning novel about the redemptive power of great literature, from industry insider, John Purcell.
Amy Winston is a hard-drinking, bed-hopping, hot-shot young book editor on a downward spiral. Having made her name and fortune by turning an average thriller writer into a Lee Child, Amy is given the unenviable task of steering literary great Helen Owen back to publication.
When Amy knocks on the door of their beautiful townhouse in North West London, Helen and her husband, the novelist Malcolm Taylor, are conducting a silent war of attrition. The townhouse was paid for with the enormous seven-figure advance Helen was given for the novel she wrote to end 50 years of making ends meets on critical acclaim alone. The novel Malcolm thinks unworthy of her. The novel Helen has yet to deliver. The novel Amy has come to collect.
Amy has never faced a challenge like this one. Helen and Malcolm are brilliant, complicated writers who unsettle Amy into asking questions of herself—questions about what she values, her principles, whether she has integrity, whether she is authentic. Before she knows it, answering these questions becomes a matter of life or death.
From ultimate book-industry insider John Purcell comes a literary page-turner, a ferocious and fast-paced novel that cuts to the core of what it means to balance ambition and integrity, and the redemptive power of great literature.
John Purcell talks about the inspiration behind his characters
‘I spent the greater part of my 20s and 30s sitting behind the counter in a second-hand bookstore. Those 10 years sitting in my bookshop were my education. I learnt more than I can say. My new novel, The Girl on the Page, is born from these experiences. This is where the hearts of the two of main characters, literary giants, Helen Owen and Malcolm Taylor were forged. Their knowledge and wisdom, too. And their integrity. Without my second-hand bookstore education, I could not have created them. I love them and all they stand for more than I can say.’
What writers are saying
‘Hilarious and heartbreaking … I know people are going to enjoy this book as much as I did.’—Christian White
‘So genuine, rich with insider info. Super read.’—Candice Fox
‘Fast-paced, clever, funny, seriously thought- and talk-provoking.’—Dervla McTiernan
‘A rollicking, sexy read about the power of great fiction.’—Michael Robotham
‘A juicy page turner that takes a scalpel to the literary world, written with deep insider intel and a gleeful sense of mischief, The Girl on the Page is a wickedly clever, razor-sharp satire of lust, betrayal and ambition.’—Caroline Baum
‘In The Girl on the Page, John Purcell triumphs with a scalpel in one hand and his heart in the other. It is a gripping, dark comedy of a novel which eviscerates the cynicism of contemporary publishing while uttering a cri de coeur for what is happening to writers and readers this century.’—Blanche d’Alpuget
‘Like getting on a fast-moving train or rocket … You cannot and don’t want to get off, but must follow every dynamic, insatiable, brilliant character right to the stunning end.’—Caroline Overington
What booksellers are saying
‘Whilst questioning the very definition of what makes fiction commercial or literary, Purcell himself brilliantly genre-straddles, moving his novel from what starts as a comic romp to a serious rumination on literary integrity, commercial realities, ambition and the importance of flexibility and compromise, both personally and professionally.’—Scott Whitmont, Lindfield Bookshop
‘You could strip The Girl on the Page of all its publishing insider juiciness; what remains is a searing take on integrity, commerce and the consequences of compromise. Purcell is a born storyteller, having spent a lifetime surrounded by books and having learned from the masters of the craft. The Girl on the Page is moving, hilarious and ultimately heart-wrenching. It’s a love-letter to literature, for sure, to its creators and its readers. But it’s so much more than that, too.’—Simon McDonald, Potts Point Bookshop
‘It is a stunner … The Girl on the Page is a novel about integrity; about the nature of the classic novel; and about choices. It is quite brilliant in both its characterisation and its execution. It is clever in its turns of plot and it is revealing in its insights into the minds of the protagonists. If you’ve not read this, I recommend you find a copy. It will not disappoint.’—Philip Cook, Dymocks Carindale
What readers are saying
‘I loved these characters. It’s so refreshing to read fiction in this genre that takes the time to build complex characters with real emotional depth.’—Ruth, GoodReads
‘How many times in our lives is our integrity challenged? This book puts it straight in your face. Two amazing women and a few men and the struggle to stay true in a world that makes it so hard. Loved it!!!’—Zia, GoodReads
‘Wow what a read; I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Set in the book publishing industry, clearly from an insider’s and book lover’s perspective, it is a great story about writers and publishers, relationships across different generations, family dynamics, with a bit of raunchy sex to throw in the mix.’—Kirsty, GoodReads
About the author
While still in his 20s, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop—imaginatively called ‘John’s Bookshop’—in which he sat for 10 years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written (under a pseudonym) a series of successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at literary festivals and on TV and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered goldfish and his overlarge book collection.
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Reading copy giveaway
For your chance to receive a reading copy of The Girl on the Page, email firstname.lastname@example.org, with ‘The Girl on the Page Giveaway’ in the subject line. The first 20 people to respond will win a copy.