Blurb this! House of Anansi edition

July 9, 2012 by · 3 Comments 

It’s not satire, per se, that is a problem for audiences, but a particular kind of satire: the kind that stings and bites and very frequently withholds happy endings. The kind Jonathan Swift, one of the form’s most impressive practitioners, famously characterized as “a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody’s face but their own.”

Riche’s satire, by contrast, is amiable and often overly broad. The California religious cult with members who walk around in shoes made out of loaves of bread are unlikely to inspire a frisson on the part of readers, nor is the ex-talk show host now living as a derelict in the ravine that runs beneath the tony Toronto neighbourhood of Rosedale. Elliot meets this latter character after tumbling down a hill into the ravine while in the process of stealing a coveted bottle of wine from his new boss’s cellar, a scene that has more in common with slapstick than satire.

This is particularly ironic in a book that spends so much time bemoaning our culture’s inability to appreciate art that is nuanced or uncomfortable. On numerous occasions, Elliot lectures his interlocutors on the subtleties of complex wines and the deeper pleasures these can yield over lesser vintages. A wine that is easy to like, for Elliot, is not as ultimately satisfying as a wine that divulges its riches only gradually, requiring patience, dedication and a sophisticated palate to fully appreciate. Finally, that is perhaps the central problem with Riche’s novel: It’s easy to like.

– Steven W. Beattie, National Post, September 9, 2011

***

“It’s easy to like.” – National Post

– Paperback reprint of Easy to Like, July 2012

Comments

3 Responses to “Blurb this! House of Anansi edition”
  1. Alex says:

    It does seem a bit uninspired for a blurb. I would have gotten creative:

    “Riche’s satire … is … like … a coveted bottle of wine! … Ironic … nuanced … complex … requiring patience, dedication and a sophisticated palate to fully appreciate.”

    Hey, you said it.

  2. ZW says:

    Dirty pool. It’s happened to me, too.

  3. Finn Harvor says:

    Some publishers seem to be circumnavigating the treacherous waters of criticism by skirting reviews altogether: in the past few years, I’ve received at least a couple of novels with blurbs written entirely by other writers — either with or somehow associated with the same house.

    I’m a bit isolated where I am. Maybe this was just a passing fad. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if this strategy now exists as one option among many for marketers. Would be interested to find out if it’s happening these days on Canadian bookstore shelves.