Famous Writers I Have Known

"Sometimes writing a sentence can be harder than serving one," says Frankie Abandonato, the narrator of James Magnuson's hilarious Famous Writers I Have Known. Frankie's speaking to us from a writing class in prison, but he soon rewinds his story five years to New York City, where he and his buddy pull a scam on someone who turns out to be a mob relative.

After Frankie finds his buddy shot dead, he's on the first flight out of town--to Austin: "Texas has always scared the hell out of me but...." Turns out a famous reclusive writer was supposed to be on that plane, on his way to teach at a university creative writing program--and Frankie looks a lot like this guy. He decides to play along with the case of mistaken identity, collecting a cool $75,000 right off the bat, but how long can he keep it up?

Frankie starts boning up on V.A. Mohle and his only novel, Eat Your Wheaties (which he read as a kid), and finds out that a very wealthy writer who had a terrible public argument with Mohle years ago is on the campus. Now he wants to make peace--and of course Frankie is hell bent on scamming this guy out of his money, all while he fulfills his duties to the university, including teaching class, giving talks and holding readings. This is a fun-filled literary romp to set alongside Lucky Jim and Nice Work. --Tom Lavoie, former publisher

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