Muse by Jonathan Galassi

Jonathan Galassi

Alfred A Knopf

Paul Dukach, a nerdy, small-town boy from upstate New York, finds his spiritual home in the NYC publishing firm of Purcell & Stern. P&S is peopled by eccentrics of all stripes whose brilliance in their fields enables the firm to publish books almost in spite of itself.

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“. . .a gossipy, humorous novel . . .”

Hired by the swashbuckling owner Homer Stern, Paul fits in to the literary world as if born to it. His position as editor allows him to come into contact with the literary stars of the age, but one of the brightest stars of all eludes him – legendary poet Ida Perkins. 

Paul has studied Perkins in exhausting detail for most of his life. Her works and her public life are as familiar to him as his own, yet there are mysteries about Ida that Paul cannot fathom. Homer Stern and Sterling Wainwright, Ida’s former lover and current publisher, are rivals, which appears to scotch any chance Paul has of meeting Ida let alone signing her up. Yet a chance opening brings Paul into contact with his heroine at her home in Venice, and the revelation of a secret which changes everything. 

Muse is a gossipy, humorous novel, a commemoration of the world of publishing as it was until it began the difficult transition from print to e-commerce. In Paul Dukach, Galassi has a hero readers can identify with as he negotiates a world in the throes of change.

Reviewer: Cindy A. Matthews