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Following tthe success of his first novel The Marriage of Reason and Squalor, Jake Chapman now focuses his malice on the calloused underbelly of literature itself. Fragile amateur novelist Christabel Ludd has a bad case of writer's block, and hires self-proclaimed "professionals" to transform her novel into a page-turner: they do so, spinning the tale of Bao Xishun, who saves the lives of some dolphins by using his extremely long arms to fish pieces of plastic flotsam from their stomachs. Working this tale into ever more bizarre incarnations, they finally cause Christabel to despairingly resort to poetry in order to break her block.