Saturday, November 22, 2014

Richard Godwin's Two-Minute Pitch for Confessions of a Hit Man

OK, I'll admit the cover is impressive but we'll have to change that wussy looking fellow. I'm thinking a young Schwarzenegger. Or an old Miley Cyrus. Never mind, we can work that out later with the Promotion Department. Let's talk about what's inside. How did you come up with the idea?
A tethering of incidents and ideas, much like the juxtapositions of newspapers, we inhabit a narrative structure. I rented a villa in the interior of Sicily from a Mafia lawyer one blazing summer near where Bernardo Provencano, Cappo di tutti was hiding, and had been hiding for 42 years shortly before his arrest as Berlusconi was ousted, and I was simultaneously interested in the machinations of the secret services and Syria, so I have a hit man working for the Cosa Nostra becoming implicated in a UK government plot selling plutonium to Syria.
"Walla"? Are you from Portland? Never mind, I don't really care. So, what's the teaser pitch? What makes me really give a crap about this book?  

It will seduce and beguile you. And leave you wanting more.

Yeah? Maybe we should really go for Miley with all this seduction stuff. Never mind, we'll never afford her. Who have you got playing the lead here and how does he change during the book?  

Jack, ex-Commando, expert in reconnaissance. You will love him because he is preying on those more corrupt than him, a sort of modern knight on a charger coming to your rescue.  In the book, he is trying to save both America and Britain.
He changes social situations through a higher level of moral assassination. He may well be a philosopher.
A philosopher? Yeah, that's what he looks like on the cover. On the other hand, there's no law against a philosopher having a bitching bod, is there? Don't answer, I'm just thinking aloud. Why this title?
Can you think of a better one?
Well, sure. Um, there's... Or we could say... Wait a second, that's not in my wheelhouse. Let's move along. What’s the logline--the one-liner that will pack 'em in the seats?

Confessions Of A Hit Man is the irresistible love child of The Day Of The Jackal and The Godfather.

Not bad. OK, last and most important question. Why should an important, rich, and incredibly handsome Movie Mogul like me buy this book?
Because it will give you directions to the exit. Any exit you need right now, trust me.
Damn! I love you! You've got guts and brains and the best thing is, I don't understand most of what you're talking about. The exit is right down the hall but, before you go, Doris, make out a blank check for...what's your name?  

Richard Godwin
Right, I knew that. Make it to Ralph Goodwin or whoever and we'll just let him fill it out.  

Check out "Confessions of a Hit Man" for yourself at Amazon

Confessions of a Hit Man

Thursday, November 6, 2014

F by Daniel Kehlmann review – a comic novel about the death of God

This is an exuberant look at love and life in an absurd and godless universe

Laughter in the darkness … Daniel Kehlmann. Photograph: Jens Trenkler/dpa/Corbis

It cannot be an easy thing to write a comic novel about the death of God. Still, the German novelist Daniel Kehlmann may just have pulled it off. “F” is the protagonist of a book within a book, the debut novel of Arthur Friedland, a rather disorganised buffoon who never had any success as a writer until an encounter with a hypnotist gave his life its chilly purpose: “This is an order, and you’re going to follow it because you want to follow it, and you want to because I’m ordering you, and I’m ordering you because you want me to give the order. Starting today, you’re going to make an effort. No matter what it costs. Repeat!”

My Name Is No One is so exuberantly nihilistic, its readers are throwing themselves off TV transmission towers. As Kehlmann says: “The sentences are well constructed, the narrative has a powerful flow, the reader would be enjoying the text were it not for a persistent feeling of somehow being mocked.”