Making sausage at Farrar, Straus & Giroux: Hothouse by Boris Kachka

hothouse“By the way, did you read Hothouse when it came out last year?” I asked a  bookish friend in an email this week. “It took me ages to slog through the introduction so I’m hesitant to make a 400-page commitment if I’m going to hate it.”

A year after its release and I’ve finally read Hothouse, the history of the publisher Farrar, Straus & Giroux by Boris Kachka. I remember seeing the book at Books on Beechwood in Ottawa last summer, as part of a display on these types of literary histories. I would have picked it up right away but was distracted by David Mason’s The Pope’s Bookbinder on the same table. I knew I was only going to be leaving with one massive, forty-dollar hardcover that day and having worked with the colourful rare book dealer Dave Mason only that past year I was far more eager to read his memoir; it was to be like reading the diary of a co-worker you’ve heard scandalous rumours about.

But I digress.

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