Synopses & Reviews
Books can be a dangerous business...
Angel Robinson loves books, loves reading, loves anything to do with the written word. But when Blue Moon Books, the Bay Area bookstore where she has worked since college, is squeezed out of business, Angel is forced to find a new job. She lucks into a position as the assistant to the world-renowned literary agent Lucy Fiamma.
Angel soon learns that working for Lucy is no picnic. The agent has a blockbuster ego to match her blockbuster success and Angel must juggle both her boss's prima donna demands and the strange quirks of her authors. But Angel soon becomes indispensible to the agency and develops a keen understanding of big projects and the writers who create them.
What she doesn't realize is just how far one of them will go to get published.
One day, a chapter from a mysterious manuscript by an anonymous author arrives at the office. Set in a New York literary agency, the novel, titled Blind Submission, centers on the ambitious assistant to a successful literary agent. Angel is pulled in by the plotbut her initial curiosity soon turns to panic. As the story unfoldswith chapters e-mailed in one by one it becomes clear that the mystery author is writing the story of Angel's own life, including secrets she thought were deeply hidden. Someone is watching her, even plotting against her. Could it be her backstabbing coworker, her jealous boyfriend, or her seductive new client?
When the novel's plot turns to murder, Angel knows that if she doesn't discover the author's identity before the final chapter is written, more than just her career will be cut short.
"Memoirist Ginsberg (Waiting; Raising Blaze) gracefully transitions into fiction with a fresh twist on the aggrieved publishing assistant. Angel Robinson is a voracious reader excited to land a job at the prestigious Lucy Fiamma Literary Agency in San Francisco, but she quickly finds herself overwhelmed in the maelstrom of an office. Angel, forever lugging manuscripts home, discovers she has a knack for turning mediocre manuscripts into moneymakers, a talent Lucy handsomely capitalizes on. When an anonymous submission set in a Bay Area literary agency is e-mailed in, Angel begins hammering it into salable shape. At first, the parallels between the manuscript and her life are innocuous enough, but as subsequent chapters appear in her inbox and she corresponds via e-mail with the author (coyly called 'G. A. Novelist'), the story begins to reveal intimate details about Angel's life and to contain thinly veiled threats. Could her foundering writer boyfriend be the culprit? A jealous co-worker? Another of Lucy's clients? A game of e-mail cat and mouse unfolds as Angel continues working on the manuscript and her dragon-lady boss angles to sell it. Though not nail-bitingly suspenseful, the plot is twisty enough to keep readers guessing to the end." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[A] cleverly told, genre-bending tale that combines intrigue, romance, a touch of mystery and strong female characters....Book lovers will enjoy Ginsberg's dead-on look at the publishing industry." USA Today
"The book-within-a-book hook adds a clever twist to this tale of entry-level angst." Library Journal
"Ginsberg's blithe blend of mystery, romance, and satire is smart, classy, and fun." Booklist
"Juicy, if superficial and guilty of many of the very tricks it skewers." Kirkus Reviews
"With savvy plotting and writing that hits its stride after the first dozen or so pages, Blind Submission delivers on its promise of a smart, fun ride through the publishing world." San Diego Union-Tribune
"Ginsberg may occasionally resort to cliches or echo her mystery novelist's overwrought language, but the industry send-ups are chucklers...Ginsberg makes a lively jump from memoir to fiction with this witty, rollicking ride." San Francisco Chronicle
"The prose is cliché-ridden and on the level of a drugstore romance novel; the characters one-dimensional; the sex scenes execrable; and many of the plot twists convenient or unbelievable....A trashy read for those interested in the world of book publishing." Rocky Mountain News
"Wicked fun and suspense from a talented new writer with an original, clever voice." Lisa Scottoline
"If you've ever considered a career in publishing, read Blind Submission, a 'boss from hell' story that's as funny as it is frightening. It will make you love your job." Harley Jane Kozak, author of Dating Dead Men and Dating Is Murder
"A wonderful read from start to finish. Ginsberg's writing is clever and seductive as she spins this tale of psychological peril and illumination." T. Jefferson Parker, author of The Fallen
Losing her job when the Bay Area bookstore she manages is forced out of business, book lover Angel Robinson feels that she is lucky to land a job as an assistant to Lucy Fiamma, literary agent to the stars, until a mysterious, anonymous manuscript dealing with a horrible boss and her long-suffering assistant begins to arrive and blurs the lines between fiction and reality. 25,000 first printing.
Angel Robinson lands a job as the assistant to literary agent Lucy Fiamma, and soon discovers that working for Lucy is no picnic, particularly when she's ordered to whip a mysterious manuscript into shape. But when the chapters take a disturbing turn, Angel finds her sanity in danger.
About the Author
Debra Ginsberg is the author of the memoirs Waiting, Raising Blaze, and About My Sisters. This is her first novel. She lives in southern California.
Reading Group Guide
Angel Robinson hadn’t been working for the well-known literary agent Lucy Fiamma for very long when the first pages of a mysterious manuscript by an anonymous author arrived at the office. Although juggling Lucy’s colossal ego and seemingly neverending list of demands kept her busy, Angel was pulled in by the plot. Set in a New York literary agency, the novel, titled Blind Submission
, centered on the ambitious assistant to a successful literary agent. As the story unfolds–with chapters e-mailed one by one–it becomes clear that the mystery author is writing the story of Angel’s own life, turning her initial curiosity to panic. Someone is watching her, even plotting against her. Could it be her backstabbing coworker, her jealous boyfriend, or her seductive new client? When the novel’s plot turns to murder, Angel knows that if she doesn’t discover the author’s identity before the final chapter is written, more than just her career will be cut short. This guide is intended as a starting point for your reading group’s discussion of this thrilling tale of assistant lit.
1. How long would you have lasted as Lucy Fiamma’s assistant? Who was the worst boss you ever had? How does that person compare with Lucy?
2. Describe Angel’s relationship with her mother. With Malcolm. What do these relationships have in common? How do they impact her relationship with Lucy?
3. What was your impression of Angel’s co-workers Anna and Craig? Why does Kelly/Nora allow Lucy to rename her? What kind of atmosphere does Lucy’s attitude create in the office? Why would a boss pit her staff against each other? What does Lucy have to gain?
4. Lucy takes credit for turning Cold! into a bestseller by adding the exclamation point to the end of the title. What do you think this says about Lucy in light of what we discover at the end of the novel?
5. What was your first impression of Malcolm? Both Angel’s mother and Elise dislike him. Why? Do you think his motivations for showing Angel Lucy’s ad were selfish?
6. Who did you think was the mystery author? Why?
7. Why does Lucy bring Angel to New York? Does she have reasons other than selfish ones for doing so? How does this trip set up Angel for success on her own?
8. How is Damiano different from Malcolm? Do you think Angel’s love of books–and writers–plays into her attraction to him? If so, is Malcolm’s mediocre talent a turnoff for her?
9. Angel gives Lucy Malcolm’s book without reading it herself. Why? Why does Angel tell Lucy the manuscript was written by her boyfriend? Was she trying to hurt Malcolm’s chances of getting published or was it an innocent misstep?
10. Lucy’s dinner party is painfully awkward. Why have it? Why hire Anna, Angel’s co-worker, to serve? Why serve only meat?
11. Lucy offers Angel a spa day during their trip to New York, but the whole event is canceled when Angel refuses to cut and color her hair to look exactly like Lucy’s. Why would Lucy suggest this style change in the first place? Is this about control or creating a protégé?
12. Why is Angel convinced that Blind Submission is about her life? How does her growing paranoia about it affect her life?
13. Why does Lucy follow Angel home from New York and then lie about it?
14. Why does Lucy seem to hate writers even though she’s supposed to be working on their behalf?
15. At the end of the novel within the novel, the main character, Alice, recalls a famous line about writing: “It was something someone had once said about writing . . . that it was so easy . . . all you had to do was sit down . . . and open a vein” (page 313). What does that phrase mean? How does it relate to the experiences of the writers in Blind Submission?
16. On page 320 Angel says that Alice is part her and part Lucy. In what ways is she like Angel? How is Angel like Alice? What aspects of Lucy’s character are evident in Alice?
17. Why does Lucy give in to Angel’s demands at the end of the novel? When does the balance of power between the two begin to change? How much control over the outcome of the novel did Lucy have?
Angel Robinson hadnt been working for the well-known literary agent Lucy Fiamma for very long when the first pages of a mysterious manuscript by an anonymous author arrived at the office. Although juggling Lucys colossal ego and seemingly neverending list of demands kept her busy, Angel was pulled in by the plot. Set in a New York literary agency, the novel, titled Blind Submission, centered on the ambitious assistant to a successful literary agent. As the story unfolds–with chapters e-mailed one by one–it becomes clear that the mystery author is writing the story of Angels own life, turning her initial curiosity to panic. Someone is watching her, even plotting against her. Could it be her backstabbing coworker, her jealous boyfriend, or her seductive new client? When the novels plot turns to murder, Angel knows that if she doesnt discover the authors identity before the final chapter is written, more than just her career will be cut short. This guide is intended as a starting point for your reading groups discussion of this thrilling tale of assistant lit.