The escargot did not disappoint.

They were served six to a plate at the restaurant inside the Famous Palace Hotel, each snail swimming in a pool of melted butter and garlic.

They had been seated, Marie and Caitlin and her movie star, beneath a chandelier in the center of the dining room. Marie wore the new clothes the movie star had bought her, a black halter top from Chanel, new jeans without holes in the knees, a pair of high heeled sandals. Marie hadn’t felt the specific need for new clothes, but he had made the offer when they were shopping for Caitlin, and Marie accepted.

Marcy, why did you write a book about an unsympathetic character?

Is she? I love Marie. I did not not love her for a second. Yes, I am well aware of all the bad things she does. Passing out, drunk, in a bathtub with the two-year-old girl she is supposedly taking care of. Having sex with the girl’s father. Running off to Paris with him and little girl, subsequently trashing the life of her former best friend — mother of said girl, wife of the philandering French novelist husband. Marie does bad things.

These days, it can be hard to believe in corporate publishing.The proliferation of pink-covered chick-lit beach reads, of C-list celebrity memoirs, of “literary fiction” seeming to have morphed into “morally inspirational books that appeal to middle-aged-lady book clubs”—well, it’s enough to all but make a girl give up on the galleys she receives from the Big Boys of New York publishing.I mean, sure, the occasional intimidatingly-smart, ultra-hip book by a twenty-or-thirtysomething white boy with shaggy hair still slips in among the drivel now and again to give us all a thrill; sure every year or so one or two foreign-born writers get championed as that season’s exotic thrill . . . but these moments can seem not only fewer and further between, but somewhat repetitive in and of themselves.Is there, for god’s sake, anything new and daring happening at the big conglomerates these days?