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Off the Record

I have knocked on flyscreens and said to mothers of kidnapped toddlers, ‘Don’t you feel guilty for leaving your child in the front yard alone?’ I have shamed them to tears for the photographer. I have gatecrashed funerals, linked innocent corpses to local crime syndicates. Or feigned empathy to the grief-stricken to make copy from their hard-luck stories. I enjoyed the kudos of my name beneath headlines on front pages and became used to the heartlessness as if blank inside. I was doing it for my family—it was worth the cruelty.

That line of work gives your eyes a plastic appearance. I’ve noticed it in the mirror, a dead glitter.

Callum Smith—Wordsmith, Words for short—is a newspaper journalist of the old school. He knows how to write a story that sings, knows all the tricks of the tabloid trade. And he likes to drink with his colleagues, sometimes to flirt dangerously with young women.

When his marriage blows up after a night of drinking goes way too far, Words is forced to leave the family home. Desperate to impress his estranged wife and feckless teenage son, he quits his job, taking a pay cut to work with a new online publication covering local crime. There the plum role of editor will soon be his, he reasons.

To Words, ‘Honesty is a thief—it steals your life.’ Better to do whatever it takes to get back in someone’s good books. And that is what he sets out to do, in a series of ever more calamitous, destructive and amoral adventures.

Will the irredeemable Words win back his family? Or is comeuppance around the corner?

A satirical novel by Miles Franklin Literary Award shortlisted author Craig Sherborne, Off the Record stylishly skewers tabloid journalism and male vanity.

Craig Sherborne
About the Author

Craig Sherborne’s memoir Hoi Polloi (2005) was shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s and Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards. The follow-up, Muck (2007), won the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award for Non-fiction. Craig’s first novel, The Amateur Science of Love (2011), won the Melbourne Prize for Literature’s Best Writing Award, and was...

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Extent:
304pp
Format:
Paperback
Text publication date:
29 January 2018
ISBN:
9781925603248
AU Price:
$29.99
NZ Price:
$37.00
Themes:
male vanity, tabloid reporting, sensationalist journalism
Australian
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Praise for Craig Sherborne
andOff the Record

`Sherborne’s talents with narrative and poetry combine to produce a striking fiction…offering a unique, vivid portrait of his characters. With the crystallisation and compression of poetry, Sherborne explores ideas of property, freedom and loyalty, and produces a novel as beautiful in its conjunctions as the chandelier swinging over its landscapes. ‘

‘A riveting piece of writing that is liable to transfix any reader who gets past the opening chapter…Sherborne is a breathtaking writer because he writes of unspeakable things with a kind of affectless gaucherie that dazzles the mind…this is an engulfing, heart-stopping book - a performance that dazzles the eyes and leaves the reader gasping for air.’

Other editions ofOff the Record
  • Off the Record
    ebook
    ISBN: 9781925626292
    29 January 2018
    Buy ebook