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Off the Record: A Novel


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A satirical novel by Miles Franklin Literary Award shortlisted author Craig Sherborne, Off the Record stylishly skewers tabloid journalism and male vanity.

About the Author

Craig Sherborne's memoir Hoi Polloi (2005) was shortlisted for the Queensland Premier's and Victorian Premier's Literary Awards. The follow-up, Muck (2007), won the Queensland Premier's Literary Award for Non-fiction. Craig's first novel, The Amateur Science of Love (2011), won the Melbourne Prize for Literature's Best Writing Award, and was shortlisted for a Victorian Premier's Literary Award and a NSW Premier's Literary Award. His second novel, Tree Palace (2014), was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award.
Craig has also written two volumes of poetry, Bullion (1995) and Necessary Evil (2005), and a verse drama, Look at Everything Twice for Me (1999). He lives outside Melbourne.


'Sharp, taut and sizzlingly mean, Off The Record paints a biting portrait of a hard-boiled hack you would not want on your back...It is an expertly crafted almost-satire, that, though billed as dark comedy, is a cautionary tale about the true cost of selling your professional and creative soul, and of unbridled vanity. Ruthlessly riveting.' * Herald Sun *

`Ambiguous, funny, and refreshingly unwise.'

* Monthly *
`Off the Record, a page-turner so scorching it makes realism seem like a form of pornography, is about sensationalist and exploitative journalism...The narrator is such a supreme wordsmith, as Sherborne was and is, that he is known as Words, and boy can he use them as acid and anthrax in the world's water supply...It is part of Sherborne's genius - it's not too big a word - to revile and deconstruct every tabernacle of good taste...Pacy, sleek, muscled...A mesmerising portrait of how a creep of a guy (who can look very much like you or me) can weave a web in which he finds himself.' -- Peter Craven * Australian *
`This novel is a demonstration of Sherborne's virtuosity as a writer.' * Australian Book Review *
`Off the Record is a deliciously droll satire.' * ANZ LitLovers *
`Monstrous yet moving.' * New Zealand Herald *
`A satirical romp through the seedy undergrowth of a headline hunter.' * North & South *
`Certain of his skewed world view, there's a perverse delight in watching Words work, and an even greater one in watching him unravel...A smug satire of old school journalism and male pride.' * AU Review *
`Callum "Words" Smith is an egocentric, chauvinistic, manipulative scumbag: a detestable man. But he is a brilliant character...He is a terrible person but somehow you find yourself rooting for him. It is a tribute to Craig Sherborne, who has created a character embodying all that is wrong with journalism, yet made him human enough to be likeable. It is grounded in the humour the author employs...Sherborne, a former journalist, sheds light on the industry with comedy and subtle sensitivity.' * Otago Daily Times *
`Reading this novel is like watching a rabbit caught in the headlights of a vehicle. There's an awful fascination, almost a voyeuristic delight, in watching a man dig himself deeper into a hole of amoral sensationalism.' * Good Reading *

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