Is a novel allegedly written by the short-tempered egotist "supermodel" Naomi Campbell but actually written, according to the copyright forms, by a person called Caroline Upcher.

Well, I say it's a novel, but it's more like a 400-page tome in which things happen with no coherence or plot. Usually at random. I was recommended it because I was talking to a clerk at a barrister's chambers who I instruct a lot at a recent schmooze up there and she said that if I like reading horrible books, this is a good place to go.

So. I went onto Amazon and for the princely sum of £2.24 I obtained this and Harry Turtledove's "Krispos Rising," which I won't review here because it's enjoyable. I then proceeded to read it and, well, this happened.

Executive Summary

400 pages of bawwwwing about people Naomi doesn't like.

A bit more detail, if you wouldn't mind, please?

Let's start at the very front. The cover of my edition has the endorsement, "The ultimate insider's guide to what is hot with the supermodel sisterhood" on it, from The Times. This does not bode well, as such a novel could consist entirely of the words "cocaine," "egotism," and "eating disorders." But I press on. The plot, such as there is, is something like this. Swan, real name Lavinia Crichton Lake, nicknamed "Swan" for her long neck (and yes, she is actually called Swan Lake in the novel. Yes. Oh yes. Kill me now.) finds herself being blackmailed by someone with an indeterminable accent who leaves phone messages and blue envelopes containing things. We don't see what things these are.

But wait! Just as you think that Caroline Upcher (more like Upchuck given the quality of the writing) might have a plot that could possibly inspire in one's veins that heat and motion to make you keep turning the pages, the focus jumps to a quintet of five young girls from various places who all end up, after various travails, being signed by Etoile Model Management (a rival who was poaching from Campbell's own agency Elite Model Management, and is way better, and definitely not a petty snipe at her former agency who chucked her out on her ear in 1990 for being an insufferable douchetruck) to be the new face of Swan Cosmetics. Or something like that. The five gals are Celestia, a sloaney who followed her mother into it and then went all slutting it up, Gigi, an illegal Cuban immigrant to the US and all round sex rocket and party animal, Amy La Mar, a token inner-city black gal, Tess, who's someone else entirely, and someone else who I've kinda forgot. Does it really matter? Honestly?

Okay, so you're now thinking these plots might kinda back into each other in a masterful piece of elegance, no? No. The focus then jumps again to telling us all about the various ancillary characters in this charade. One of whom, in another piece of sublime Naomi Campbell-worthy bitchiness, is a tabloid journalist who is shown as getting her jollies from drenching up dirt on models because, surprise surprise, she tried to be a model herself but was too fat and ugly. Which is why she writes pieces attacking the fashion industry for promoting anorexia and suchlike, of course. Because she's just jealous. Of course.

In fact, sniping at people Naomi Campbell doesn't like keeps cropping up within this novel. At the fashion show where token black gal Amy La Mar (I labour the fact she's the token black gal because the novel does) is discovered, she wins because a person invades the stage and gives the attendees a lecture about how they're all institutionally racist. Who then declare Amy the winner. This person is not seen before or since.

The plot gets a bit fuzzy at this point, or maybe it's the fact that I had started to chug-a-lug at a bottle of Ricard to gather the bravery to continue with this dreck. But basically, the narrative chops back and forth so you can't possibly follow what's going on, there is no connection whatsoever between all these happenings. I have a recollection of a character called Water Detroit at this point. Yes. Water Detroit. Seriously. Fhat the wuck. This is almost as woundrously bad as Tookie de la Creme. This combined with Swan Lake (ka-snarf) makes me wonder if this wasn't a stealth parody.

The prose is also prone to unintentional humorousness. For instance. In the scene where The Hon. Celestia, the model candidate with the "toff" hat, is doing a shoot with piercings semi-nude in a run down laundrette. This scene involves this line:

"There was an intended air of seediness but Celestia herself came across on the page as an unmistakeably classy piece of ass."

There's also some truly hopelessly bad sex scenes, which you can look up for yourself if you want, and a bit where Cassie and Gigi have a catfight in a club. Which lasts for half a page and I only remembered it when flicking through the novel just now to mine for choice quotes. Yes. This novel manages to make a clothes-ripping brawl between the finest specimens of international womanhood totally unmemorable.

Oh, but you want to hear about the sex scenes, do you? Well now. Here's a wee quote from one of them.

"Then he took my face between his hands and stared at me for an eternity before lowering his head and raining kisses all over me. As he moved about above me I caught glimpses of his massive erection waiting to perform."

Talk about Ikea Erotica.

Anyhow. So this goes barrelling on for a while without anything really happening then it turns out that the big secret is this bloke called Guy Murray who nobody's ever mentioned ever before has been running a secret illicit film studio where he generates snuff films. Fhat the wuck. This is only really discovered when the aforementioned journalist Lindy Jane Johnson, you know, the one who's too fat and ugly to be a model and is just jealous, is almost murdered in said film or something. This is portrayed by all other characters as karma being a right bitch. Yeah. Because upsetting supermodels and being mean to them really deserves being killed by a sadistic maniac, doesn't it. Jesus fucking wept.

The novel then ends. There is a quick bit where the results of which of the new gals gets the lucrative contract but this is thrown in as an afterthought. Who's blackmailing Swan and why is never revealed. Neither is anything else, really. So the novel turns out to be a complete waste of time. Much like the fashion industry, really. There's a reason it went out of print. In fact, let's be honest, it was only published to have Naomi Campbell's name on it, and probably because she screamed at her agent, threw something at him, and called him racist until he relented.

So if you haven't read any of the above, this novel blows goats. Also, Naomi Campbell is an unlikeable, petty-minded, vindictive little cuntlet. Even though she didn't write this book her hand is all over it in its pettiness and small-minded stupidity. Scorn it.

Swan (?), n. [AS. swan; akin to D. zwaan, OHG. swan, G. schwan, Icel. svanr, Sw. svan, Dan. svane; and perhaps to E. sound something audible.]

1. Zool.

Any one of numerous species of large aquatic birds belonging to Cygnus, Olor, and allied genera of the subfamily Cygninae. They have a large and strong beak and a long neck, and are noted for their graceful movements when swimming. Most of the northern species are white. In literature the swan was fabled to sing a melodious song, especially at the time of its death.

⇒ The European white, or mute, swan (Cygnus gibbus), which is most commonly domesticated, bends its neck in an S-shaped curve. The whistling, or trumpeting, swans of the genus Olor do not bend the neck in an S-shaped curve, and are noted for their loud and sonorous cry, due to complex convolutions of the windpipe. To this genus belong the European whooper, or whistling swan (Olor cygnus), the American whistling swan (O. Columbianus), and the trumpeter swan (O. buccinator). The Australian black swan (Chenopis atrata) is dull black with white on the wings, and has the bill carmine, crossed with a white band. It is a very graceful species and is often domesticated. The South American black-necked swan (Sthenelides melancorypha) is a very beautiful and graceful species, entirely white, except the head and neck, which are dark velvety seal-brown. Its bill has a double bright rose-colored knob.


Fig.: An appellation for a sweet singer, or a poet noted for grace and melody; as Shakespeare is called the swan of Avon.

3. Astron.

The constellation Cygnus.

Swan goose Zool., a bird of India (Cygnopsis cygnoides) resembling both the swan and the goose. -- Swan shot, a large size of shot used in fowling.


© Webster 1913.

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