Thursday, 27 September 2012

A Bilious Attack

Every bloody bookshop I've ever gone into or used online has been bombarding me with emails letting me know that J. K. Rowling's "first novel for adults" is now available. Whoop-dee-fucking-doo; I don't care. The plot sounds like that of a minor money-losing British movie starring Judi Dench, the prose looks boring, and the cover is dull--but then, I suspect they could have jacketed it in poo-flecked human skin and it would still sell by the truckload.

Designer: don't know, don't care

I only wish they'd done a children's version of the cover, to match the "adult" covers for the Harry Potter books that self-deluding grown-ups bought so they could pretend they weren't reading children's books.

Sorry for the bile, but I used to work in a bookshop and I'd happily never hear about this writer and her books again.

The other incessant emails I'm getting are from Amazon: buy one post-apocalypse novel from them and they never stop sending you plugs for self-published/small-press zombie novels. I was particularly struck by the odd pathos of the plug on the front of this one.



12 comments:

Ian Shimkoviak said...

Hey! Looks like one of my covers!
Don't get me started on post apocalyptic zombie novels. Why did you buy one to begin with? What the fuck is wrong with you. I can't imagine you're running out of things to read. Jesus. I might design em, but you actually bought one! Surprisingly alarming!

—Ian Shimkoviak

Emma said...

I think I'm going to hand-copy that first paragraph on a piece of acid-free paper in India ink so I can treasure it forever.

Have you read The Reapers Are The Angels? It's a super-fantastic apocalyptic zombie novel (although it may be heavily contextualized for American readers, I don't know) all the way to the end, which is atrocious. For a change.

Why are mass-market paperbacks — or, things that aspire to be mass-market paperbacks — always so poorly-covered? I know people dislike the hipster covers on modern chick lit and bildungsroman fantasies, but I think a decent minimalist line-drawing on the cover would improve the purchasing prospects of 93% of genre fiction.

JRSM said...

Ian and Emma: Weirdly, Emma, you picked the book that led me down this rabbit-hole (I've read that and Colson Whitehead's 'Zone One' in this genre)--I ordered it from Amazon after reading a great review as there was no local release, and have been getting these emails ever since.

matthew. said...

I'm not sure if you're familiar with http://requireshate.wordpress.com/

The blogger has been tweeting quotes from Rowling's novel since yesterday morning (your Wednesday? your Thursday? Timezones confuse the hell out of me) and let me assure, it ain't pretty.

Rowling's prose is abysmal and she makes the oft-repeated mistake of confusing "maturity" with "gratuitous profanity"... and tits. Copious amounts of tits, apparently.

guiltlessreading said...

You're hilarious! :)

jb said...

One of your best posts. I always like it when you emphasise the Caustic bit of the title. (Also, it rarely leads to me spending money.)

JRSM said...

Thanks, jb and Guiltless. And Matthew, those extracts are AWFUL!

Tororo said...

I'm afraid this news will not lift your spirits up, but the French publisher of this thing thought it was such a crucial priority for the French cover to match most closely the original's design, that (the translated title being "Une Place à Prendre"), they wanted the word "Une" to be printed in extra-small writing inside the loop of the "P", the same way as the word "The" nests inside the loop of the "C"… notwithstanding that it makes way less sense than in the English version (I don't mean this design conveys anything subtle, but at least it sort of succeeds in not making the writing totally illegible), and makes the French cover look even messier than the mess that's the English one.

JRSM said...

Tororo, that is depressing. I wonder if the translation was as rushed in the French edition as it was apparently for some others--translators given only a week or two to do the job so that they wouldn't leak copies of the book. I guess when the prose is bland and flat, the translation job is at least easier. Google Translate could probably do it.

missdisco said...

well, i made the mistake of looking at those ridiculous 'bic for her' pens, and now i'm emailed about them! i must look up lumberjacking and sports cars to throw off their targeting.

missdisco said...

"Rowling's prose is abysmal and she makes the oft-repeated mistake of confusing "maturity" with "gratuitous profanity"... and tits. Copious amounts of tits, apparently."

I don't think that's just Rowling, that seems to be any writer or publisher who wants to seems edgy and 'mature'

missdisco said...

"Rowling's prose is abysmal and she makes the oft-repeated mistake of confusing "maturity" with "gratuitous profanity"... and tits. Copious amounts of tits, apparently."

I don't think that's just Rowling, that seems to be any writer or publisher who wants to seems edgy and 'mature'