Thursday, December 14, 2006

an editor and a makeup artist walk into a bar...

Ah hell, it's petty but I live for stuff like this.
TEV is my favourite blog period, but sometimes the stars (or just space junk?) align in such a way that a solid book review sets off a discussion in which perfectly sane book types turn into Thunderdome mooks, as the comments progress.
Marisha Pessl is a first time novelist who was recently named to the NY Times' Ten Best Books list for 2006. In addition, she's not tough to look at.
Predictably, reviews are all over the map, but in the end the real question is one that Jessa Crispin gets right.
"It happens a few times a year now. An attractive, young writer will come out of nowhere with a debut novel that leaves the publishers salivating. Sometimes it’s not the book itself that causes the commotion, but rather its perceived marketability—maybe the drool-worthy author photo, or the potential connections the book/author represents—that really get the publicity departments going.
It would be easy to dismiss Marisha Pessl as another one of these writers. Her bio, after all, does list her as a model and actress as well as a writer. Her dreamy, airy author photo pretty much guarantees articles in fashion magazines along with snarky reviews by people who may or may not have actually read the book. The difference in this case, however, is that, despite a rocky start, her novel Special Topics in Calamity Physics is really quite good."
As popular culture pollutes most of the rivers scenarios like this will always exist, but isn't it kind of nice that the book world is (still) such that 28 years old is considered young?
When Calamity Physics came out, I gave it a pass and probably won't get to it. More specifically I read this and was convinced it would be on every year end list.
Oh well.
By the time Pessl's second book arrives, publishers will have a press kit from the next hot young zygote to wrap a marketing campaign around and she'll have to get by on talent like everybody

Posted by Dave

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