The Crossed-Out Notebook

Nicolás Giacobone (Author) Megan McDowell (Translator)


From the Academy Award-winning cowriter of Birdman, a wonderfully eccentric, suspenseful debut in the tradition of Misery and Kiss of the Spiderwoman about a screenwriter kidnapped by a world-famous director who orders him to compose a masterpiece.

Pablo, a failed Argentine novelist-turned-screenwriter, has been kidnapped by the greatest Latin American film director of all time and is kept in a basement where he works, day after day, on what he is told must at all costs be a great, world-changing screenplay. Every night, after finishing work on the script, Pablo writes in his notebook and every morning he crosses out what he wrote the night before. The Crossed-Out Notebook is Pablo's diary of this time: being brought food by a maid; being threatened with a gun; vociferously arguing with the director about what he's written the previous day.

The clash between the two men and their different approaches leads to a movie being made, a gun going off, an unlikely escape, and a final confrontation. In the end, The Crossed-Out Notebook is a darkly funny novel full of intrigue and surprise about the essence of the creative process; a short, crazy ode to any artist whose brilliance shines through strangeness and adversity.

Product Details

$25.00  $23.00
Scribner Book Company
Publish Date
September 24, 2019
5.6 X 0.8 X 8.5 inches | 0.75 pounds

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About the Author

Nicolás Giacobone was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1975. He shared an Academy Award and Golden Globe for cowriting Birdman, which also won the Academy Award for Best Picture. He is the author of the novel The Crossed-Out Notebook. Megan McDowell has translated many contemporary authors from Latin America and Spain, including Nicolás Giacobone, Alejandro Zambra, Samanta Schweblin, Mariana Enriquez, Gonzalo Torné, Lina Meruane, Diego Zuñiga, and Carlos Fonseca. Her translations have been published in The New Yorker, Tin House, The Paris Review, Harper's, McSweeney's, Words Without Borders, and VICE, among others.


"Nicolas Giacobone has done the impossible. The Crossed-Out Notebook is a meta-fictional page-turner that grapples as much with Beckett as with Pretty Woman, as much with The Beatles as with Fellini. Also hidden in these pages are gems about what it takes to sit down in your pajamas everyday and attempt to put worlds to words."--Daniel Magariel, author of One of the Boys
"A deceptively straightforward slack-wire act of a novel that probes the hairline crack between selling art and selling out."--Nell Zink, author of Mislaid
"An intellectual thriller that grabs you."--La Capital (Argentina)
"A satire with thriller elements that depicts the most perverse side of the creative process... Like Misery passed through the sieve of comedy."--Time Out Barcelona
"A novel that synthesizes Giacobone's literary knowledge and his learnings and reflections from the world of film."--La Razon (Spain)
"A fascinating thriller and deliciously devilish... But beyond the thriller elements, the caricature and the satire, The Crossed-Out Notebook is above all a an enthralling dive into the intimacy of the creative process."--Les Inrockuptibles (France)
"For my next masterpiece, I fully intend to hold Nicolas Giacobone captive in my basement and force him to write a novel as playful and literate and overall splendid as The Crossed-Out Notebook."--Joshua Ferris, author of The Dinner Party and Other Stories
"This dark comedy/suspense novel is a page-turning take on the conditions in which we can create."--Lit Hub, a Most Anticipated Book of the Year
"A smart, introspective, and gripping examination of the burdens and joys of the writing life."--Booklist
"Giacobone eagerly explores the nature of inspiration and film's essence as a collaborative art. But he also keeps the prose breezy; much of the novel is delivered in snappy, witty one-sentence paragraphs. And he assuredly ratchets up the tension as Pablo's deadline approaches, making the final act a twisty revenge fantasy against formulaic art-making of all sorts.A clever meditation on the joys and agonies of creativity, enlivened by its pressure-cooker plot."--Kirkus
"Full of metafictional twists and turns... hilarious... packed with witty one-liners, there is much to hook our interest."--Irish Times
"Suspenseful, darkly funny... Highly recommended."--Mail on Sunday