THE GIRL ON THE PAGE

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John Pur­cell HARPERCOLLINS, $33 Osten­si­bly an in­side look at the pub­lish­ing in­dus­try, this novel is es­sen­tially a love let­ter to lit­er­a­ture. And doesn’t Pur­cell know his stuff. Amy is a crack­ing book ed­i­tor who is mak­ing a packet co-au­thor­ing air­port thrillers with au­thor Liam Smith. But the over­sexed and hard-drink­ing word wiz is given her most chal­leng­ing task — to help lit­er­ary le­gend He­len Owen de­liver a promised piece of com­mer­cial fic­tion. He­len’s been given a hefty fee for the book, but her old ed­i­tor has left the pub­lish­ing house, their copy of the man­u­script has dis­ap­peared and the au­thor is wa­ver­ing. He­len thinks she’s sold out, hav­ing lived hand to mouth her whole life writ­ing wor­thy fic­tion. Her hus­band, who’s been short-listed for the Booker Prize, is ques­tion­ing her in­tegrity. Amy, used to turn­ing over best­sellers, faces a co­nun­drum when she dis­cov­ers He­len has writ­ten three ver­sions of the book. One of them could be her great­est work ever. SHELLEY HADFIELD

VERDICT: A turn up for the books

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