The Girl On the Page

Purcell, John

Two women, two great betrayals, one path to redemption. A punchy, powerful and page-turning novel about the redemptive power of great literature.

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 fifty 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.

‘[A] mischievous commentary on…literary culture … a commercial paean to great literature, an elegy to words and reading.’ Weekend Australian

‘The Girl on the Page is funny, fast paced, frank, ribald, hip, erudite and clever …This is an entire novel about books, writing and editing, and it’s a delicious romp. At its heart, this story is about how the literary arts can cohabit with the mercantile world of publishing, and how writers and editors can help each other do better, richer, more relevant work. This is a book about the joys of creating – both for writers and for editors.’ The Listener

‘A slick, sharp novel about books and relationships, drenched in delicious insider detail from the book industry. Impossible not to enjoy.’ – Matt Haig, international bestselling author of Notes on a Nervous Planet and How to Stop Time

‘Hilarious and heartbreaking … I know people are going to enjoy this book as much as I did.’ – Christian White, bestselling author of The Nowhere Child

‘Fast-paced, clever, funny, seriously thought and talk-provoking.’ – Dervla McTiernan, bestselling author of The Ruin

‘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, bestselling author of The One Who Got Away and The Ones You Trust

‘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 du coeur for what is happening to writers and readers this century. Through this dark comedy – I squealed with laughter, page after page – flash questions about cultural life that Purcell asks but leaves us to ponder.’ Blanche d’Alpuget

‘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