Naked Came Ms. Jane Austen’s Strange, Strange Manatee


Over at The Museum of Hoaxes, in addition to some truly disturbing stuff about pork buns they address today’s article in the Guardian about an author who sent the first chapter and a synopsis of Jane Austen’s First Impressions to a bunch of publishers. They point out that this is actually a pretty well-worn hoax, citing similar projects involving the works of Nobel prizewinner V.S. Naipaul, Stanley Middleton, and more.

Someone in the comments of that MoH post points out a book that happens to be on my shelf right now:

Of course, one that went through was Naked Came the Stranger about 30-40 years ago. About a dozen journalists deliberately wrote a bad book, one chapter each, and submitted it under a pen name. It became a best seller.


That project eventually inspired Carl Hiaasen et al’s Naked Came the Manatee, which I glanced through and enjoyed, vaguely, in sort of a silly, nod-and-pretend-you’re-listening sort of way, but never enough to actually read it all the way, not unlike most crime novels by South Florida writers who are not named John D. MacDonald. Obviously I missed the Manatee joke, because I actually had no idea this was a hoax or parody. It’s even more interesting given that I participated in a smilarly-modeled round-robin erotic novel.

Nice to know the universe doesn’t like me taking myself too seriously.




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