Thursday, September 28, 2006

Nicholas Coleridge reviews himself

The latest Private Eye's Bookworm exposes yet more vanity self-promotion by one of the world's worst novelists, Nicholas Coleridge. "I LOVED this novel ..." starts one reader's review on of Godchildren, a previous work of his. Unfortunately the reviewer's name is one "ND Coleridge, 'Worcestershire Man'": back in 2002 he had yet to learn how to disguise his real identity in an email.

In fact, there is a similar pattern at work in the Amazon reviews for Godchildren and his latest work, A Much Married Man. Both titles elicit an initial awful review by a genuine reader. In the case of Godchildren, "A Reader" writes brutally: "This was the dullest work of trash (and I love trashy books) I have ever read. It was also very silly. The most ridiculous story line ever plotted. How many dead real life industrialists' lives can you fit in a story? Sadly the net result was a hodgepodge of soundbites. Bad story telling."

In response the very next review was the rave from "ND Coleridge".

Then, with his latest novel, A Much Married Man, Madame Arcati herself kicked off the reviews (as "Gore Vidal II") with a less than enthusiastic survey of the novel. This was quickly followed by a number of raves, all by people who've never reviewed on Amazon before. Perhaps by now Coleridge knows how to hide behind an electronic mask. Or else he has lots of friends (like these).

Doubtless some will think all this rather disreputable. Personally I find it rather endearing. I mean, here's a man - Mr Coleridge - who earns a seven-figure salary as Conde Nast's MD and commands six-figure publishing advances for novels he assiduously pushes through his glossies (Vogue, Tatler, Vanity Fair etc) and through newspapers that employ people he went to school with.

Yet despite contacts to kill for and power to die for this very considerable man actually sits at his computer screen in his study and worries himself over what some nonentity thinks about his wretched fictions. You can imagine him checking daily sales reports of his books - this may explain why he sent out an assistant to buy up copies of his latest novel to improve its position in the London books charts, as reported by the Eye. Perhaps he has a geo-sales world map on his computer full of primary colours and percentage readings - indices of the Coleridge impact on Planet Earth!

It is heartening in a way to think that a man who has achieved so much can still care that much about what people think of him. Humbling.


Alastair said...

Are you sure thats him ? I don't know why someone reveiewing their own book would use a user name so near his own name. He also only seems to have reviewed one of his books

Madame Arcati said...

He's had plenty of time to deny it. NC self-googles every five minutes and monitors everything pertaining to his work, so he'll know soon enough of your regard for him. Since writing this post a number of people have testified to me what a lovely person he is: not all of these witnesses could have been NC.