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fashion-memopad

Martha's Surprise, Couldn't He Just Mail It?...

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia on Tuesday reported that advertising revenue in publishing was up 6 percent.

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COULDN’T HE JUST MAIL IT?: Relatedly, the heroine of “Emma’s Table,” a novel by New York Times etiquette columnist Philip Galanes to be published this week, is a sixtysomething who “parlayed a small career as an interior decorator into an enormous one as a media darling….Her allure had always been easy to see: she was just like you, only better — which was somewhat at odds with the latest feather in her cap, a conviction for tax evasion and lying under oath, complete with a stay in the federal pen.”

Don’t worry, it’s not line-for-line Martha — Emma is described as “a regal brunette.”

The novel is not to be confused with the crop of “assistant lit” of recent years: Galanes doesn’t know Stewart, hasn’t worked for her and didn’t do any research on her. He did, however, have an epiphany watching Stewart on TV at the height of the legal troubles that led to her serving five months in prison. Galanes’ first novel had just been published, and it felt anticlimatic. “I was having a loser-to-loser identification with her,” Galanes told WWD. “She mentioned Nelson Mandela. I thought, has she just compared her shifty stock deal to Nelson Mandela? That’s exactly right. We have to do whatever we have to do when we get the huge hit in the stomach or the bash in the head.”

Inspired by “a character who was so high and so low,” Galanes (also an entertainment lawyer who dabbles in interior design) started writing. These days, he said, “we’re desperate to get the book into her hands. All I want to do is take her out to lunch to see the book. I would just want to thank her, because I think she helped me work through one of my own issues by imagining an interior life for her that is entirely a fabrication.” The dream site would be The Four Seasons — “Probably the one time I could get a good table” — but Galanes may not want to hold his breath for Stewart’s company. A spokeswoman for her declined comment. — Irin Carmon

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