It is with immense pride that we, The Publishers, introduce The Girlfriend's Boyfriend, by Nona Carlson. It has been a long time since one woman's climb to position and the exorbitant price she paid for success have been portrayed so honestly, so fearlessly, and with such deep penetrating wisdom.
This is not the first time that the theme of ambition has been used as the basis of a novel. There have been many books based on this topic in the past.
Yet, we feel that the pages presented herein portray a unique situation: here, a woman is shown denying morality for the sake of success, and we witness her downfall in painful detail as though we, ourselves, had encountered her in real life. With unflagging truthfulness and frankness, The Girlfriend's Boyfriend outlines the sacrifices of personal relationships that Ruby Garvin must make in order to gain a privileged position at the publishing company where she is employed.
We witness the slow disintegration of her values, and watch as her peers, many of whom have already undergone the same frightful Faustian transformation, contribute to her demise.
If there is a moral message in this book, it lies beneath the superstructure of the corporate world which Ms. Carlson depicts with such startling candor. In the midst of big business transactions, the individual no longer seems to have the power nor the will to assert himself, preferring to make ethical compromises for the sake of overweening ambition, rather than to act according to conscience.
The central metaphor or symbol in this work is, of course, the machine, which seems to have co-opted the "human" in human beings and bent it to some inscrutable technological will of its own. Greg Jair, the strange reclusive publisher, embodies the identity of this machine-culture, illustrated in almost graphic Freudian detail, and through his actions shows the phenomena of transference of sexuality from the physical body to a mindless object.