“The first really good book I have read about television.” —Norman Mailer
In midcentury America, one man is determined to take over the airwaves with a program as audacious as it is entertaining. Bald, bombastic, and irresistible, Golk is his name and You’re On Camera is his show. To “golk” someone is to trick her, on camera, into betraying her true nature. The more combative the personality, the better the joke, and to help trap his victims Golk enlists a team of misfits, including Herbert Hondorp, a scholarly layabout turned photogenic decoy, and Jeanine Hendricks, a twenty-three-old debutante with a bitter worldview.
But Golk has bigger plans than just catching average Manhattanites unawares. As popular as You’re On Camera has become, he knows the show is capable of making a greater, more transformative impact. The question is, will Herbert and Hendricks go along with his revolutionary agenda? Or will they bow to the power of the network and the seduction of celebrity?
Combining high drama with surreal hilarity and presenting a remarkably prescient view of the future of television, Golk ranks with Nathanael West’s The Day of the Locust as one of the finest novels ever written about the American entertainment industry.