Slightly Foxed Edition No. 43, Jennie Erdal, Ghosting
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Ghosting (No. 43)

  • Format: 110 x 170mm
  • Publication date: 1 Sept 2018
  • Producer: Smith Settle
  • Genre: Memoir
  • Binding: Cloth hardback
  • Trimmings: Coloured endpapers; silk ribbon, head- & tailband; gold blocking to spine; blind blocking to front
  • NB: Hand-numbered limited edition of 2,000
  • ISBN: 978-1-910898-19-2
  • Foreword: Hazel Wood
  • Number in SFE series: 43
Made in Britain

Ghosting (No. 43)

Jennie Erdal

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‘A large sapphire on the lapel of a bold striped suit, a vivid silk tie so bright that it dazzles . . . on his fingers a collection of jewels: rubies, emeralds, diamonds . . .’

This is the man Jennie Erdal calls ‘Tiger’, the flamboyant figure at the centre of Ghosting, the strange and gripping story of the twenty years in which she became his ghost writer, pulling the wool over the eyes of reviewers and turning him into the literary lion he had always wanted to be.

They first met in London in the early 1980s, he a bold independent publisher, she a translator with a young family, excited when Tiger asked her to join his firm as a commissioning editor. So far, so ordinary perhaps – though there was nothing ordinary about Tiger, with his wild enthusiasms, weird obsessions and bizarre outfits, his absurdities and unexpected generosities, his sumptuous lifestyle and his office filled with beautiful and well-connected girls.

But Tiger didn’t want just to publish books, he wanted to write them, though his literary skills and fractured Palestinian English simply weren’t up to the job. Erdal needed an income and gradually over the years she was drawn into a weird, symbiotic relationship as she created a whole literary oeuvre in Tiger’s name, even turning his ludicrous plot ideas and sexual fantasies into novels which were seriously and admiringly reviewed.

There is much more to the story, but the real joy of Erdal’s brilliant memoir is in the telling. Ghosting is a wickedly funny book, but it is also a thoughtful look at deception and self-deception and the masks that most of us wear.

Tiger the Literary Lion

One day in 1981 a young woman found herself travelling from her Scottish home to London to meet a publisher. So far so predictable perhaps. She had read Russian at university and had recently...

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‘How different from anything I have ever read . . .’

‘I adored Jennie Erdal’s book – how different from anything I have ever read. Warmly admiring of all the Slightly Foxed team.’ J. Cawthorne, Suffolk

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  1. The Los Angeles Times says:

    Along with thoughtful and illuminating reflections on language, writing, and the emotional costs of lying . . . [Ghosting is] filled with poignantly hilarious scenes in which Erdal and her boss, attempting to pursue a common goal from utterly divergent sensibilities, try to reach a meeting of the minds.

  2. San Francisco Chronicle says:

    Wonderful. . . . It is also uncommonly wise in the ways of writing.

  3. The New Yorker says:

    A delight . . . Erdal is discerning about her motives for ghosting–money, a compulsion to please, and a cloistered Scottish Presbyterian childhood that made the ‘irony and absurdity’ of her job seem not just tolerable but glamorous.

  4. Chicago Tribune says:

    An astonishing, very fun true story.

  5. San Francisco Chronicle says:

    Wonderful. . . . It is also uncommonly wise in the ways of writing.

  6. Caroline Moorehead, The Spectator says:

    Jennie Erdal has written a book that is hugely enjoyable to read, touches on profound questions about language and writing and provides a vivid and often affectionate, but fairly merciless, portrait of an exasperating, despotic, self-deluding but in the end likable figure, with the tantrums of a small child and the plumage of a peacock.

  7. Craig Brown, Mail On Sunday says:

    If this were simply a ghost-and-tell book, it would be of interest only to a very limited number of the London literati. But it is much, much more than that; it is a beautifully composed memoir; sometimes rather desperate, sometimes very funny, of an extraordinary symbiotic relationship between two very different people.

  8. Sunday Times says:

    A little masterpiece about a relationship, superbly written in a down to earth style, and as enjoyable as a good novel.

  9. Independent says:

    Jennie Erdal set a benchmark for candour and wisdom when she wrote about her 15-year association with Niam Attallah in the brilliant memoir Ghosting.

  10. Good Reads says:

    Suspenseful, controversial, and beautifully written, Ghosting is the most penetrating portrait yet of a mysterious profession.

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