The Words To Say It


Tales from the Reading Room

GhostingGhosting by Jennie Erdal is my third creative non-fiction book, and an elegant, flawless meditation on the deep and surprising levels of our relationship to language. For twenty years, Erdal was a ghostwriter for a Lebanese multimillionaire publisher whom she called Tiger. He was a charming, delightful, neurotic control freak, a man of immense generosity and overweaning demands who adored life when it was beautiful and who threatened to sack an employee for forgetting to flush the toilet. On his behalf, Erdal edited huge collections of interviews, two novels, a weekly newspaper column, thousands of letters. It was work that she loved, but which drove her half crazy, although mostly that was due to Tiger’s uncontrollable impatience; on one day when she was nearing submission of their newspaper column, she counted 47 telephone calls from him, checking how she was getting on. Yet for all this hassle, there was no…

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