In a dishevelled west London flat the body of a young man lies crumpled, the victim of a suicide. In a stylish family home less than a mile away is a writer: stranded in mid-life, his one triumph behind him, his family slipping away from him, all he has to hold on to is his self-belief that one day the world will recognise his talents. From these two seemingly unrelated elements, Terence Blacker creates a magnificently compulsive novel of ego, envy, self-deception and, ultimately, self-destruction.
Gregory Keays is a man with a wonderful future behind him. A dazzlingly brilliant first work has led to a series of false starts, wrong turnings and critical cold shoulders. Reduced to compiling a book of literary lists and stuck in the mire of his latest fiction, Insignificance, Gregory?s life turns around when he takes under his wing Peter Gibson, a promising student at the night school where he teaches creative writing. When Gibson kills himself following an argument with his mentor, Gregory pays him the highest compliment ? he appropriates his work and passes it off as his own?