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Ghosting

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  165 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
Ghosting is a remarkable account of one woman's life - or, to be more accurate, lives. For fifteen years, Jennie Erdal had a double existence: officially she worked as a personal editor for one particular man - Tiger - but in reality she was his ghost-writer and in some mysterious sense his alter ego. During this time she wrote a great deal that appeared under his name - f ...more
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Published June 30th 2005 by Canongate Books (first published 2004)
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Courtney Johnston
A couple of years ago I dabbled in some ghostwriting. It was very different from editing, and not an experience I greatly enjoyed. I felt like a bit of a fake, and my pride, I have to admit, was rather hurt when the book came out and I received none of the praise.

My experience has very little to do with Jennie Erdal's. For nearly 20 years she was an editor at London publisher Quartet Books. Originally employed to manage the Russian list, she gradually moved into the role of ghostwriter, servicin
...more
Georgia
Jul 02, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-reads
So...I feel quite justified in my book cover prejudice because this book has a mediocre cover and complementary content. Ghosting is the 20 year memoir of a ghostwriter and the flamboyant publishing playboy she wrote for. During the course of their relationship they developed a somewhat odd symbiosis. Erdal learned to cope with Tiger (as she calls her employer) and his outlandish personality and persnickety habits. She wrote at least 3 books under his name along with letters, reviews, and column ...more
Debbie Robson
May 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jennie Erdal had, for fifteen years, what I consider to have been one of the most intriguing jobs ever. During the eighties and nineties she worked for Quartet Books as an editor and translator. She was there in the early and mid eighties, a time of excess. I love the descriptions of the “girls” who worked there, mostly from wealthy backgrounds - always beautiful and beautifully dressed. She remained until the late 90s when money was scarce and the world had changed, with publishing houses now s ...more
Barb
Dec 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Broadminded people
Recommended to Barb by: a review
So far, absolutely fascinating!

Finished now, did not want it to end... This skilled writer, Jennie Erdal, really held my attention, and not only because her autobiographical book centers around interesting revelations from her years of ghost-writing for a well-known London publisher. While the Scottish mother of 3 young children, she had translated some important Russian works. Being in the right place at the right time, she developed his trust in her abilities, which gradually led to supporting
...more
Ensiform
Apr 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The author worked for years at Quartet Books, gradually and somewhat unwillingly becoming the default ghost writer for its flamboyant (possibly gay?), Middle Eastern editor whom she calls Tiger. First she helps research and organize his interviews with prominent people, then somehow becomes the writer behind his novels. While a generous and mostly pleasant man, Tiger is also demanding, fastidious, and irrational, and soon Erdal needs to leave.

She’s written what is a very pleasant memoir about it
...more
Jordan
Jun 27, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A ghostwriter's memoir. Jennie Erdal went from translating Russian lit to ghostwriting two novels for her writer/publisher boss, Tiger. Tiger's concept of the writing process is a little vague - "We are thinking about a beautiful novel, very beautiful. And it will have a beautiful cover. We will make sure of that." And the details of story/character/everything in between are left to Erdal. (Sex is an exception though. Tiger's adamant about having poetic, distinguish sex scenes and asks Erdal eve ...more
Suzanne
Dec 27, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Entertaining, though I have to admit I was disappointed when (after reading the book) I did a little internet research to learn who she was ghostwriting for and I'd not heard of him nor any of the books she wrote for him. Still, an interesting glimpse into the life of a ghostwriter and her outrageous boss.
Ciara
Nov 19, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ghostwriters, foppish publishing tycoons, historians of british publishing 1980-2000
i picked this up due to my interest in the lives og ghost writers. the author of this memoir wound up working as a ghost writer for a single employer, a man she called tiger, for about twenty years. she was originally hired by tiger to work as a translater. she had studied russian literature & language in college & tiger ran a publishing company that had acquired the rights to a russian manuscript & needed it translated into english. he was so appriciative of erdal's work that he sta ...more
Susan Ferguson
An interesting book with a discussion of languages, translation, publishing and writing.

Jennie Erdal started out as an editor for a small publishing company. She called her boss "Tiger" because of a huge tiger skin he had on the wall in his office and he called all the women who worked for him "Beloved". She was an anomaly to Tiger's usual staff. Most were thin, young, single, society girls. Jennie was older, married with children and worked from home in Scotland, only going to London once a mon
...more
Felice
Jul 14, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
How much of yourself do you set aside every day when you go to work? Are you putting on a game face or do you become someone else entirely? In Ghosting, author Jennie Erdal writes about her years spent living a double life at work. Why? Money? Timidity? Power? Ghostwriting started out for Erdal as a convenient job for a mother of three. It became a very strange and morally murky career. The details of her 15 years ghosting for a well known publisher (Referred to as Tiger throughout the book. In ...more
Laura Hancock
Oct 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This memoir is about a Scottish woman who was an editor and ghostwriter for a London publisher for 20 years, through the late 1990s. One of her degrees is philosophy and I enjoyed her perspective as she tried to write books, newspaper columns and even love letters for her male boss. Essentially the moral dilemma is this: In each novel, the author's perspective on life comes out through the characters. When you're a ghost writer, you're creating a voice of the author, who is creating characters. ...more
Rita
Oct 03, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2004
This book was definitely entertaining for at least the first half. After that, it got rather repetitive. The flamboyant publisher/boss keeps on, but the author's [or protagonist's] understanding of him does not seem to evolve much after that.

More intriguing to me would have been if the author had explored much deeper why she continued to be so drawn to his outrageous personality and behavior. Twenty years, for goodness sake! But probably she can't explain herself to herself [and most of us c
...more
Jamie
Dec 26, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2009
I get the feeling this book would be very entertaining if the author ever revealed who the real-life "Tiger", her megalomaniac boss, is. I also get the feeling that most people in the (European) publishing world probably know exactly who he is. Since I don't, I read the book with the decided feeling of the one who isn't in on the joke. Tiger comes across as a jackass, and the author (Ms. Erdal) seems to be in a passive-aggressive codependent professional relationship with him. Okay, but why shou ...more
Rosa
Mar 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Es ya el segundo libro que leo y me encanta gracias a los art��culos de Nick Hornby recopilados en The Complete Polysyllabic Spree. La historia de como una fil��loga escocesa se transforma de traductora y editora en la escritora en la sombra de un magnate del negocio editorial es incre��ble. La narraci��n que la autora mantiene es magistral y el libro aporta una visi��n ��nica sobre el proceso de crear una novela que no creo que ning��n escritor "real" y no "fantasma" sea capaz de explicar. Si t ...more
Lauren
Jul 25, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've always been fascinated by ghostwriting and was hoping this publishing-world memoir would be along the lines of Diana Athill's fantastic Stet: An Editor's Life in its content. However, it felt disconnected, especially when interspersed with the author's own thoughts on language and writing. I found myself skipping the sections where she wrote about her own life because they weren't as engrossing as those about her actual job as a ghostwriter. Overall, it was disappointing, and I wish the foc ...more
Katherine
I did some ghost writing for a woman, who was quite similar to Tiger in many ways, narcissistic, demanding, extravagant, occasionally generous, and always controlling. Although I didn't do it for as long as Erdal, or to the same extent (although, I too wrote personal correspondence), I saw enough parallels that I was looking forward to reading this memoir.

Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I expected. Although the story is interesting and her descriptions of the process of ghost
...more
Lian Tanner
Three and a half stars. The first three-quarters of the book is fascinating - Erdal very effectively inter-weaves stories of her childhood in Scotland with the tale of how she came to work for the eccentric and egocentric publisher she calls 'Tiger'. The book is funny and moving, and the author creates a splendid portrait of the man at the centre of it all, and the odd dislocation by which they both pretend HE is writing the books that she produces. It held my attention until close to the end - ...more
Alison
Jul 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jennie Erdal was a ghostwriter for a flamboyant publishing mogul, penning two novels, several other nonfiction books, a weekly newspaper column, and innumerable letters. I was impressed with her writing style and the way she wove scenes from her life into the story of her time with "Tiger." Although she is honest about Tiger's idiosyncrasies and maddening obsessions, Erdal also portrays the man's generosity and good heart. It was fascinating to learn how such an odd relationship could continue t ...more
Sandra
Apr 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great deal to like in this - Jennie Erdal's insights into writing, as well at the inevitable conflictions caused by being a ghost writer, at the beck and call of man who apparently behaved much of the time like the worst sort of out-of-control toddler, but his personality intruded more that was, for me, enjoyable. Many of her recollections of how one learns and is influenced by one's parents, rang loud, familiar bells.
Mary
Jan 27, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People with crazy bosses
Recommended to Mary by: Nick Hornby
This was pretty entertaining. Her account of ghost writing for a flamboyant London publisher is both affectionate and infuriating. She kind of lost me at the end when it took her so long to end the relationship -- well after it had started to negatively affect her health and her marriage. She was far too accommodating and timid. Also, I felt kind of cheated that she didn't give us an account of her quitting. Felt like we were leading up to it.
Sara
Jan 30, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: collection
I didn't mind this book, not that I would necessarily recommend it to anyone but I wouldn't reread it either. I was slightly annoyed I actually had to type an entire paragraph of french into the google translator to get the joke, but go figure the damn dog dies! I did like how she painted the character of Tiger you could easily picture is eccentricities.
Juliet
Jun 28, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A thin story inflated into more than it is. Memoir of ghostwriting with occasionally fussy language. Author's forays into her memories of language feel inserted, choreographed to add a false spine of structure to this simple memoir of a slightly difficult working relationship with a flamboyant character.
John
Tough book for me to finish as the author's boss (he who actually got credit for her work) was such a neurotic, self-absorbed jerk; either Erdal suffered from low self-esteem, or was addicted to being part of his high-flying lifestyle. Good read, but not great.
Davis
May 04, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ghosting is mostly a book that tries to get its readers to sympathize with the author's sexist ex-boss, and I didn't have much tolerance for it. Writers will find some interesting things being said about the act of writing, if they can find them in-between mentions of "the Tiger's" harassment.
patricia
Sep 24, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
true story - autobiography - of a ghostwriter who ended up ghostwriting an autobiography of what must be one of the craziest, zaniest men in all of fashion/publishing. the guy has a pet stuffed tiger and a good-humored ridiculousness that is pretty tough to beat
Felisa Rosa
Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography
At once a finely tuned rumination on writing and an amusing character sketch of a flamboyant publisher. I wished the author would have revealed more details about her life outside the publishing industry, but this book was nonetheless a pleasure to read.
Terrie
Jan 31, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Terrie by: page-a-day calendar
Definitely some interesting anecdotes, but a slow start, and kind of disjointed. Also whined too much about not liking working for "Tiger" in the later years - just leave already!
Nicole
Jan 06, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining and a pleasure to read. Some of the parts about her boss got a little too gossipy for me, but it was interesting to see how she fit that outrageous world into her own quieter life.
Christine Frank
May 14, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Tried . . . could not get in to it . . .
Kaethe
Sep 16, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
just bogged badly

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