At Femme magazine, something had been in the air for weeks,
a feeling that they were living on a fault line. Speculation
finally burst into flames when it was confirmed that Calvin Carter,
the U.S. managing director, had been sighted roaming around the top
floor, looking for the gents'. Apparently he'd just arrived in
London from the head office in New York.
It's happening. Lisa clenched her fists in excitement.
It's actually finally, bloody happening.
Later that day the phone call came. Would Lisa pop upstairs to see
Calvin Carter and British managing director Barry
Lisa slammed down the phone. "Too right I would," she shouted at
Her colleagues barely looked up. People slamming phones down then
shouting were ten a penny in the magazine game. Besides, they were
trapped in Deadline Hell -- if they didn't get this month's issue
put to bed by nightfall, they'd miss their slot with the printers
and would be scooped once again by archrivals Marie Claire. But
what did she care, Lisa thought, hobbling to the lift, she wouldn't
have a job here after today. She'd have a much better one somewhere
Lisa was kept waiting outside the boardroom for twenty-five
minutes. After all, Barry and Calvin were very important men.
"Should we let her in yet?" Barry asked Calvin, when he felt they'd
killed enough time.
"It's only twenty minutes since we called her," Calvin pointed out,
huffily. Obviously Barry Hollingsworth didn't realize just how
important he, Calvin Carter, was.
"Sorry, I thought it was later. Perhaps you'd show me again how to
improve my swing."
"Sure. Now, head down and hold still. Hold still! Feet
steady, left arm straight, and swing!"
When Lisa was finally granted admission, Barry and Calvin were
seated behind a walnut table approximately a kilometer long. They
looked frowningly powerful.
"Sit down, Lisa." Calvin Carter inclined his silver bullet head
Lisa sat. She smoothed back her caramel-colored hair, showing her
free honey-colored highlights to their best advantage. Free because
she kept plugging the salon in the "Ones to Watch" section of the
Settling herself in the chair, she tucked her Patrick Cox-shod feet
neatly around each other.
The shoes were a size too small -- no matter how many times she
asked the Patrick Cox press office to send a size six, they always
sent a five. But free Patrick Cox shoes were free Patrick Cox
shoes. What did an unimportant detail like excruciating agony
"Thank you for coming up.' Calvin smiled. Lisa decided she'd better
smile back. Smiles were a commodity like everything else, only
given in exchange for something useful, but she reckoned in this
case it was worth her while. After all, it wasn't every day that a
girl was seconded to New York and made deputy editor of
Manhattan magazine. So she curled her mouth and bared her
pearly-white teeth. (Kept that way from the year's supply of
Rembrandt toothpaste that had been donated for a reader
competition, but which Lisa had thought would be more appreciated
in her own bathroom.)
"You've been at Femme for" -- Calvin looked at the stapled
pages in front of him -- "four years?"
"Four years next month," Lisa murmured, with an expertly judged mix
of deference and confidence.
"And you've been editor for nearly two years?"
"Two wonderful years," Lisa confirmed, fighting back the urge to
stick her fingers down her throat and gag.
"And youre only twenty-nine," Calvin marveled. "Well, as you know,
here at Randolph Media we reward hard work.'
Lisa twinkled prettily at this patent lie. Like many companies in
the Western world, Randolph Media rewarded hard work with poor pay,
increasing workloads, demotions, and on-a-second's-notice
But Lisa was different. She'd paid her dues at Femme, and made
sacrifices that even she'd never intended to make: starting at
seven-thirty most mornings, doing twelve-, thirteen-, fourteen-hour
days, then going to evening press do's when she finally switched
off her computer. Often she came to work on Saturdays, Sundays,
even bank-holiday Mondays. The porters loathed her because it meant
that whenever she wanted to come to the office one of them had to
come in and open up and thereby forgo their Saturday football or
their bank-holiday family outing to Brent Cross.
"We have a vacancy at Randolph Media, " Calvin said importantly.
"it would be a wonderful challenge, Lisa."
I know, she thought irritably. Just cut to the
"It will involve moving overseas, which can sometimes be a problem
for one's partner."
"I'm single." Lisa was brusque.
Barry wrinkled his forehead in surprise and thought of the termer
he'd had to hand over for someone's wedding present a few years
before. He could have sworn it was for Lisa here, but maybe not,
perhaps he wasn't as on the ball as he once used to be ...
"We're looking for an editor for a new magazine," Calvin went
A new magazine? Lisa was jotted off course. But
Manhattan has been published for seventy years.
While she was still grappling with the implications of that, Calvin
delivered the whammy. "It would involve your relocating to
The shock set up a smothered buzzing in her head, as if her ears
needed to pop. A numb, fuzzy sensation of alienation. The only
reality was the sudden agony of her crumpled toes.
"Dublin?" She heard her muffled voice ask. Perhaps ... perhaps ...
perhaps they meant Dublin, New York.
"Dublin, Ireland," Calvin Carter said, down a long, echoey tunnel,
destroying the last of her hope.
I can't believe this is happening to me.
"Small wet place across the Irish Sea," Barry offered kindly.
"Where they drink a lot?" Lisa said faintly.
"And they never stop talking. That's the place. Booming economy,
huge population of young folk. Market research indicates the place
is ripe for a new feisty women's magazine. And we want you to set
it up for us, Lisa."
Excerpted from SUSHI FOR BEGINNERS © Copyright 2003 by
Marian Keyes. Reprinted with permission by William Morrow, an
imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Sushi for Beginners
- Genres: Fiction
- hardcover: 432 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow
- ISBN-10: 0060520507
- ISBN-13: 9780060520502