Cosmo Landesman

Make or Break


I am a ruined man. After years of struggling to keep that novel inside of me I finally cracked and out it all came. What is to become of me now? Friends avoid me in the street; the word is that I have ‘sold out’.

So I said good-bye to my past and hello to the future. Now I would live the real literary life – not the shallow and ephemeral one glamorised by the media and adopt a serious commitment to the art of lunch, parties and women.

Perhaps my real mistake had been to show the publisher Paul Ovaum my manuscript. Ovaum is what you call a Soho character – fat, drunk and completely mad. As soon as I walked into his office I was struck by a terrible smell. At first I thought it was the double-breasted compost heap he was wearing but I later learned that it was the putrefaction of rotting manuscripts that Ovaum had buried under the floor boards. He was a man who could establish a special rapport in a few words, ‘Now sign this you little shit and get out of my sight.’

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