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Book News: @GSElevator Author Loses Book Deal

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

  • Simon & Schuster is canceling publication of a book by John Lefevre, the man behind the @GSElevator twitter account, which supposedly repeated things overheard in the elevator at Goldman Sachs. It emerged that Lefevre has never worked at Goldman Sachs, though he appears to have lied to a New York Times reporter about it in 2011. He was outed last month by DealBook, the Times' financial news service. In a statement Thursday, Simon & Schuster said, "In light of information that has recently come to our attention since acquiring John Lefevre's Straight to Hell, Touchstone has decided to cancel its publication of this work." When Lefevre's identity was revealed, his editor at Touchstone told The Times that Lefevre had been "pretty straight with us the entire time, so this is not a surprise." In an email to NPR, quoted below in its entirety, LeFevre wrote:
  • "-- [Simon & Schuster] supported me throughout

    -- they knew everything about me

    -- even on friday, they were excited

    -- since then — now that I have been outed — my credibility has grown — i will be a columnist for the IFR and Euromoney, the most respected capital markets publications on the planet

    -- and now they turn on me

    -- who knows?

    -- old media versus new?

    -- maybe the NYT got to them

    its sad and pathetic. they won't even tell me.....

    but my show will go on.."

  • A longlist of 20 novels has been announced for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, and includes Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, All The Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld, A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride, and The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner.
  • When novelist Teju Cole was asked, "What books are you embarrassed not to have read yet?" he responded: "I have not read most of the big 19th-century novels that people consider 'essential,' nor most of the 20th-century ones for that matter. But this does not embarrass me. There are many films to see, many friends to visit, many walks to take, many playlists to assemble and many favorite books to reread. Life's too short for anxious score-keeping. Also, my grandmother is illiterate, and she's one of the best people I know. Reading is a deep personal consolation for me, but other things console, too."
  • Anna Holmes writes a tribute to To Kill A Mockingbird's Scout Finch and Harriet the Spy's Harriet M. Welsch: "Both are rough-and-tumble, foulmouthed, mostly male-identified girls who are fascinated by the people in their neighborhood, and both butt up against expectations of their gender — "I'll be damned if I go to dancing school!" Harriet bellows at one point. And each book argues for authentic expression in favor of fealty to convention. ... Harper Lee and Louise Fitzhugh taught their readers that difference, nonconformity, and even subversion should be celebrated in young girls."
  • Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Annalisa Quinn is a contributing writer, reporter, and literary critic for NPR. She created NPR's Book News column and covers literature and culture for NPR.
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