As Aeschines famously said, phēmē (‘fame’) can't be trusted: that's why ‘famously’ so often prefaces a mistaken report. Karen ní Mheallaigh knows that in Gorgias B23 it is the sophisticated audience which is deceived, and she understands the ‘contractual’ relationship that Gorgias posits between audience and author (e.g. 30, 32, 78). But, making the fatal mistake of calling it ‘Gorgias’ famous dictum’, she hallucinates a reference to madness and says that ‘what is at stake…is the confusion between reality and representation, which is a measure either of the audience's lack of sophistication, or of the artist's supreme skill’ (29). Her invitation to ‘read with imagination, and with pleasure’ (xi) succeeds admirably. Reading her exploration of the self-conscious, extremely sophisticated, and persistently playful fictionality of Lucian (Toxaris, Philopseudes, True Stories) and others (Antonius Diogenes, Dictys and Dares, Ptolemy Chennus) was, for me, an intensely stimulating and pleasurable experience. But the Gorgias aberration was not the only thing that also often made it annoying. ‘The irony that pervades Lucian's work…is not a symptom of exhaustion but of exuberance’ (37): doesn't that state the obvious? ‘Having read Toxaris, it is difficult to read Chaereas and Callirhoe without feeling its improbable storyishness’ (49): is that any less difficult for those who haven't read Toxaris? ‘Is Toxaris a dialogue about friendship, or about fiction?’ (67): the headline answer (‘both: for the theme of friendship is itself entwined with the dynamics of fiction in the dialogue’) is undercut by what follows, which reductively treats the friendship theme as a pretext and pretence (‘in Lucian's work, fiction is almost invariably enjoyed under the pretext of doing or talking about something else, and Toxaris is no exception: it is a dialogue about novelistic narrative, masquerading as a dialogue about friendship’; my emphasis). A fictional speaker's oath ‘compels the reader into acquiescence that the story he is listening to is true’ (68, original emphasis): how is that possible when (given the existence of perjury) even non-fictional oaths don't have that power? Is it true that a ‘constant oscillation between the poles of belief and disbelief…takes place in the reader's mind when (s)he reads fiction’ (70)? The internal audience may be waveringly doubtful about the status of what they are hearing, but sophisticated external audiences of fiction are capable of maintaining a complex attitude free of oscillation. ‘The reader must wonder whether (s)he is him or herself contained within that remote specular image on the Moon, a minute mirror image of a reader and a book, within the very book (s)he is now holding’ (226): that's not the ‘must’ of necessity, since I don't wonder that at all. Am I violating some ‘must’ of obligation? But why should anyone be obliged to wonder anything so daft? I was not disturbed by ‘the disturbing idea that every reality may be a narrative construct, another diegesis in which we are the characters, being surveyed by some remote and unseen reader, perhaps right now’ (225; compare 207), nor unsettled by ‘the unsettling possibility that the real world outside Lucian's text could be just as fictional, if not more so, than the world inside the book’ (230; compare 8). If you are of a nervous disposition, do not read this book: thirty-six occurrences of ‘anxiety’ and ‘anxious’ might make you jittery. Otherwise, read it, enjoy it, and (from time to time) shout at it in frustration.