The Blurb Slut

the blurb slut

Emily Pullen at Skylight Books in LA has done a good job of exposing one of the dirty little secrets of book publishing—that Gary Shteyngart, in addition to being a skilled writer and an all-around hilarious guy, is a blurb slut. If you wrap some pages together and splash them with ink, Gary Shteyngart will give you a promotional blurb.

Usually this kind of thing strikes me as deplorable. But Shteyngart, with his big Russian heart and his flair for drama, seems like the kind of person who could buy into a marketing gimmick without feeling like he’s compromising his integrity. I bet he finds the whole thing rather silly.

Below are five of Gary Shteyngart’s blurbs.

Can you match them up with the books they belong to?

Going a step further, can you guess what Gary was doing right before he paused for a second to scribble each blurb?

(Answers at the bottom, in white text; highlight them to see.)

 

Blurb

1. “I laughed until they put me in a mental hospital.”

2. “Who knew the combination of cartography and adolescence could prove to be so touching and so much fun?”

3. “[Author]’s satiric romp gives new meaning to the word ‘bittersweet.’”

4. “This is the novel about New York’s art world I have always wanted to read. It is sexy, smart, super-cool. [Author] has done the near-impossible.”

5. “A spot-on parable of twentieth-century self-delusion and the painfully fruitless quest for immortality.”

 

Book

A) The American Painter Emma Dial, Samantha Peale

B) Personal Days, Ed Park

C) The Egyptologist, Arthur Phillips

D) Petropolis, Anya Ulinich

E) The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet, Reif Larsen

 

Right before he wrote the blurb, Gary Shteyngart…

i. ate a whole bar of bittersweet chocolate.

ii. finally shelved his quest for immortality.

iii. traded insults with an adolescent cartographer.

iv. failed to go home with a girl he met at a SoHo gallery.

v. walked out of a mental hospital.

 

1-B-v; 2-E-iii; 3-D-i; 4-A-iv; 5-C-ii

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