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Editorial Reviews

"Following in the tradition of such academic satires as Moo, by Jane Smiley, and Changing Places, by David Lodge, the novel…takes particular delight in skewering teachers and students alike. Mr. Magnuson also introduces a character named Rex Schoeninger, a thinly veiled stand-in for the novelist James A. Michener, the Michener Center's benefactor and the man who handpicked Mr. Magnuson to run it." (The New York Times)

Publisher's Summary

In this brilliant mix of literary satire and crime caper, Frankie Abandonato, a small-time con man on the run, finds refuge by posing as V. S. Mohle - a famously reclusive writer - and teaching in a prestigious writing program somewhere in Texas. Streetwise and semiliterate, Frankie finds that being treated as a genius agrees with him.

The program has been funded by Rex Schoeninger, the world’s richest novelist, who is dying. Buzzards are circling, angling for the remains of Rex’s fortune, and Frankie quickly realizes that he has been presented with the opportunity of a lifetime. Complicating matters is the fact that Rex is haunted by a 25-year feud with the shadowy Mohle. What rankles Rex is that, while he has written 50 best sellers and never gotten an ounce of literary respect, Mohle wrote one slender novel, disappeared into the woods, and become an icon. Determined to come to terms with his past, Rex has arranged to bring his rival to Texas, only to find himself facing off against an imposter.

Famous Writers I Have Known is not just an unforgettable literary romp but also a surprisingly tender take on two men - one a scam artist frantic to be believed, the other an old lion desperate to be remembered.

©2014 James Magnuson (P)2013 Audible Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A gloriously farfetched tale, but alarmingly real to anyone who knows the weird world of MFA programs. Besides which, it's a shit-load of fun." (Peter Carey, two-time winner of the Booker Prize)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Enervating Account of Eccentric Adventures

An enervating account of the eccentric adventures of certain vainglorious illuminati, meant mainly for the amusement of MFAs and similar "clever" cognoscenti.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

This is a "B" movie in novel form

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I cannot recommend this book given how boring the actual novel ended up being. Great idea but uninspired and plodding story.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Maybe a mystery.

Did Kevin T. Collins do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

He didn't do a poor job narrating but his voice did not seem well suited to the character. Unless the character was supposed to read like a nebbish.

Do you think Famous Writers I Have Known needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No. See review above.

Any additional comments?

Audible recommended this book and by doing so has caused me to lose all faith in the accuracy of its recommendations.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Diana
  • United States
  • 02-16-14

Great Story

Would you listen to Famous Writers I Have Known again? Why?

Yes. The author has quite an imagination. I loved Kevin T. Collins narration. He's one of the best audible narrators I've listened to.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Famous Writers I Have Known?

When V.S Mohle (Frankie) got the briefcase (loaded with money) out of the gym's locker, and lost all of it when he tripped outside the front of the gym. Also, when Mohle and Rex went on hike and old Rex fell and had a stroke.

Which scene was your favorite?

The end of the story when the REAL V.S Mohle came to see Frankie at the prison.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Definitely!

Any additional comments?

Highly recommend this book. Should be on The New York Times Best Seller list. I would love to read more by the author, James Magnuson.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful