Monday, 25 May 2020

How To Write A Blurb

Blurbs, argues Jason Guriel, are "a species of micro-criticism worthy of our scrutiny." One indicator of their quality, he says, is proportion:
It’s not promising when a book’s first few pages are nothing but blurbs—pull-quotes from an endless roll call of major newspapers and magazines, each one ecstatic. (See, for example, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao in paperback.) Few books deserve that much praise (few books deserve praise, period) and it’s a minority of critics who can identify them anyway. The avalanche of good press is often triggered by groupthink: the unconscious, uncoordinated conspiracy that develops when the editors who assign reviews have bought into some book’s advance marketing or are responding to the pressures of the Zeitgeist.

One or two decisive blurbs is a much better look. You can trust the book that carefully curates its praise. My copy of Lolita features a single statement from Vanity Fair: “The only convincing love story of our century.” Blurbs should drop the mic.

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