The biography of the vanished Duncan Shriek written by his sister Janice but annotated (in brackets) by Duncan after Janice disappears (perhaps). As the book examines art, history, madness, war, big business, books, family, love and above all, truth it's easy to see why its bleakly ironic style has made the city of Anbergris a must visit destination for SF fans. Should also appeal to fans of Borges (Ambergris's bookstore is named after him), Murakami, Bulgakov and other authors who examine the surreal or 'magically real'.
Duncan had been steeped in decades of alternative history, discussing his theories with the dead by way of their books, and with the living, yes, but an assortment of crackpots and eccentrics such as to make the cult of the Lord's Botches look positively mundane. He had developed a skin as tough as an oliphaunt's hide. (Yet it occurs to me now that I've never really wanted to be a historian, let alone a journalist. I've always wanted to create history, even if no-one ever realises what part of it I helped to create).