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“It’s about a guy. He runs a company.”

June 19th, 2010 Comments off
I have never been good at describing what I write. Even a year after Shimmer was published, two years since it was bought, I still struggle with the right description of the book. This is not because Shimmer is somehow a particularly difficult book to summarize. It’s because I have some gap in my mind, some blank spot in my brain that can’t write a decent synopsis. There are some phrases I like well enough. Some sentences seem okay. “A dark, sometimes comic novel about the people and friends at the heart of a lie.” “A quiet and intense novel about a conflicted hero, and an ethical trap.” “A novel about self-deception and arrogance. About the commitments we make to friends and family and the strangers we look past every day.” But then I’ll think that those descriptions are all slighly off, too simple or too contrived. Emphasizing one aspect of the book too much over another. “Robbie Case is a star CEO. Robbie Case is a millionaire. Robbie Case has a secret.” “In just 3 years, Robbie Case has grown his company from 30 people to over 5,000. Except all of it is based on a lie.” “One man, one company, one disastrous lie.” There’s truth in each of those sentences. Some are even a little bit catchy, as they say. But none seem quite right. I wish books were sold without explanatory text. Just a black cover, a title, and the first chapter to read. I’ve gotten better at this, I will say that. Two years ago, when I was telling my brother that I was going to have a book published, most of the conversation was about the long time — almost 15 years – that I’d spent writing but not getting published. About 20 minutes into this, he asked, “So what’s the book about?” “Well,” I said. “It’s about a guy.” I paused. Thought. Considered my words. “He runs a company.” I stopped there. “I think you’re going to have to find a better description than that,” my brother said. I’m still working on it.
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