Herman Rosenblat's touching story about reuniting with a holocaust survivor years after the war ended was a sham. Among the conned: the NY Post, Oprah, publishers. Now alchemized into fiction, the tale's finally going public.
Presenting: The Apple, by Penelope Holt. Wait. Who?
Penelope Holt is President of Concise Marketing & Communications, a New York marketing consultancy and creative services agency. Born and educated in England, she has spent her career teaching professionals and companies better ways to tell their story, build their brand and get their message out.
Wow. So instead of getting some slackjawed ghost writer to repurpose the language of the old otherwise owned, old material, they just went for the shamless, balls-out approach. By getting a suit to write it. Impressive. I'd go into what else York House has to offer, but that pretty much says it right there.
The site describes the book as as "a novel based on Herman Rosenblat's story." A novel, you say? This book done been Frey'd. There's more: "The book also recounts the story behind the story... Why did Mr. Rosenblat fabricate aspects of his story? And what perils await a Holocaust survivor who does such a thing?" So it appears that they're going to be fictionalizing the account of what happened when people found out it was fiction, which is proficiently meta.
But it appears they've also posted an excerpt for the public's frothing desire to have this thing in there hands. Penelope Holt, President of Concise Marketing & Communications, take it away:
Herman went over the problem again. The problem of his book. I am a survivor. I know about suffering, he thought. The book was supposed to be a message of hope that made people feel better. Instead people were getting mad and disgusted. No not everybody. Plenty of people support me. But the critics are angry and they make the most noise. What a mess. He couldn't unravel it. Yes I made a mistake. I have to put it right. I know. But when? Not right now. Herman felt undone by all the hostility and not sure what to do next. He was mute, like in a dream when you try to speak but no words come out. Maybe later, he thought. When people can listen without getting mad. Maybe then I'll have a chance to say I'm sorry. I'm sorry I disappointed you.
Yeah, it's absolutely sad, but not for the reason they're thinking ("It won't sell?"). Next time you hear someone complain about the novel in the drawer they can't seem to get published, because the Brass At Random House or ICM won't accept their submission, remind them that there's always someone out there willing to peddle their shit-stained wares to the lowest common denominator, sans discretion. Try ringing them.