Everyone's Gone to the Moon

Philip Norman, Author Random House (NY) $4.99 (0p) ISBN 978-0-679-44831-0
The ""Mod'' London of the 1960s provides the background for this deliciously wry satire of British journalism by bestselling author Norman (Shout: The True Story of the Beatles; Symphony for the Devil). Louis Brennan, an ambitious young reporter holed up in a backwater town in Northern England, finally lands a spot at the London Sunday Dispatch's ultra-chic glossy magazine. But competition is intense, and he finds himself floundering in his search for a legitimate scoop in the magazine's politically charged atmosphere. He is encouraged by his crony, Jack Shildrick, formerly his boss in the provinces and now editor of the Dispatch. When their solidarity is infiltrated by Fran Dyson, an apparently diffident yet poisonously manipulative young secretary, Louis and Jack find themselves jockeying for her affections, with potentially disastrous results. Meanwhile, Louis is becoming aware of office politicking and also increasingly immersing himself in the campy culture of 1960s London, pulsing with free love, funky fashions and Mod music. Norman seems to have total recall of that cultural milieu, and he recreates it with verve. Eventually, Louis learns to master for himself the first truth of tabloid journalism: that clever words and minds can create news that the public will accept as such, never mind the dutiful reporting of more factual papers. Norman's prose positively reels with a distinctly British humor and sharp satirical edge, and his large roster of deftly rendered characters (with some real celebrities thrown in) remains engaged in furious action without a moment of letdown. It's a wicked portrait of an era and a screamingly good read. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
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