The Crossed-Out Notebook
a novel
Nicolás Giacobone

Scribner/September, 2019

From the Academy Award-winning cowriter of Birdman, a wonderfully eccentric, suspenseful debut in the tradition of Misery and Kiss of the Spiderwoman about a screenwriter kidnapped by a world-famous director who orders him to compose a masterpiece.

"A smart, introspective, and gripping examination of the burdens and joys of the writing life."- Booklist

"Giacobone eagerly explores the nature of inspiration and film's essence as a collaborative art. But he also keeps the prose breezy; much of the novel is delivered in snappy, witty one-sentence paragraphs. And he assuredly ratchets up the tension as Pablo's deadline approaches, making the final act a twisty revenge fantasy against formulaic art-making of all sorts.A clever meditation on the joys and agonies of creativity, enlivened by its pressure-cooker plot."  - Kirkus

"For my next masterpiece, I fully intend to hold Nicolás Giacobone captive in my basement and force him to write a novel as playful and literate and overall splendid as The Crossed-Out Notebook." - Joshua Ferris, author of The Dinner Party and Other Stories

"Nicolas Giacobone has done the impossible. The Crossed-Out Notebook is a meta-fictional page-turner that grapples as much with Beckett as with Pretty Woman, as much with The Beatles as with Fellini. Also hidden in these pages are gems about what it takes to sit down in your pajamas everyday and attempt to put worlds to words." Author: Daniel Magariel, author of One of the Boys

"A deceptively straightforward slack-wire act of a novel that probes the hairline crack between selling art and selling out." Author: Nell Zink, author of Mislaid

"This dark comedy/suspense novel is a page-turning take on the conditions in which we can create." Source: Lit Hub, a Most Anticipated Book of the Year

"A satire with thriller elements that depicts the most perverse side of the creative process... Like Misery passed through the sieve of comedy." Source: Time Out Barcelona

"An intellectual thriller that grabs you." Source: La Capital (Argentina)

"A novel that synthesizes Giacobone's literary knowledge and his learnings and reflections from the world of film." Source: La Razon (Spain)

"A fascinating thriller and deliciously devilish... But beyond the thriller elements, the caricature and the satire, The Crossed-Out Notebook is above all a an enthralling dive into the intimacy of the creative process." Source: Les Inrockuptibles (France)


Pablo, a failed Argentine novelist-turned-screenwriter, has been kidnapped by the greatest Latin American film director of all time and is kept in a basement where he works, day after day, on what he is told must at all costs be a great, world-changing screenplay. Every night, after finishing work on the script, Pablo writes in his notebook and every morning he crosses out what he wrote the night before. The Crossed-Out Notebook is Pablo’s diary of this time: being brought food by a maid; being threatened with a gun; vociferously arguing with the director about what he’s written the previous day.

The clash between the two men and their different approaches leads to a movie being made, a gun going off, an unlikely escape, and a final confrontation. In the end, The Crossed-Out Notebook is a darkly funny novel full of intrigue and surprise about the essence of the creative process; a short, crazy ode to any artist whose brilliance shines through strangeness and adversity.

Nicolás Giacobone was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1975. He shared an Academy Award and Golden Globe for co-writing Birdman, which also won the Academy Award for Best Picture. He is the author of the novel The Crossed-Out Notebook.