The Mentor

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Charles Davis was once hailed as the new F. Scott Fitzgerald, but his latest potboiler has been joyfully greeted by jealous reviewers as a sign he is burned out. He is desperate to come up with another winner because his beautiful, ambitious wife Anne, who is making tons of money in merchandising via the Internet, is beginning to despise him. It is her idea to hire Emma Bowles to handle his correspondence and other distracting busywork; but Emma, horribly abused by her mother as a child, turns out to be a talented aspiring writer working on a novel about an abused child.

Charles volunteers to polish her manuscript, recognizing it as superior to anything he is any longer capable of producing. He has acquired professional eclat but lost innocence, sincerity, and sense of purpose. He betrays Anne by starting an affair with adoring Emma, then betrays the dangerously psychotic young Emma by representing her work as his own. He fires Nina Bradley, the brilliant, sophisticated African American agent responsible for his success. Finally, he murders aged Portia Damron, his college writing teacher who has acted as mentor and conscience throughout his career, when she threatens to expose him as a literary thief. Charles achieves another publishing triumph--but loses his soul.

Although The Mentor is a first novel, it has a mature style and professional pacing. Sebastian Stuart, a native New Yorker, is older and more experienced than the typical first novelist. He has previously written books and lyrics for New York theatrical productions. His insider’s view of Manhattan’s media elite is the best thing this book has to offer.