FIRST PERSON by Richard Flanagan

When a struggling writer is contacted by notorious conman Siegfried Heidl and offered £10,000 to ghost-write his memoirs in just 6 weeks, it’s too much to turn down. Despite the man’s reputation, despite his odd behaviour and his uncertain character, Kif is drawn under his spell. As the fraudster’s story progresses, the writer has to balance out the pressure from his publisher against the shifting-sands of Heidl in an effort to work.

Firstly, I have to say this book is incredibly well-written. It feels like an important book, and the author has won several writing award. The style is very modern and there’s an autobiographical element to it that gives the novel a sense of authenticity (especially if you know the background to the actual story). And yet I came away with the book feeling cold. It didn’t really work for me. Which is sad because I usually enjoy reading about writers and the literary world. If the novel had been poorly written I’d have little hesitation in urging to avoid it, but in this instance I feel the problem lies with me, not the book.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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