France No Longer Blurb-Free

Did France really exist without the blurb this long? Seems hard to believe.

France is getting blurbs! Lire Magazine reports. Never before has such a sneaky marketing concept sullied the covers of French books. And the blurbs still won’t be on the cover, but restricted to the red bandeaux (like a skinnier version of a dust jacket) that are wrapped around new publications, sometimes to announce prizes the author has won, or that the book has been nominated for, but sometimes to reproduce the name of the author in larger letters.

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I was recently in Spain (unfortunately for about two hours, in the airport…) and noticed this exact blurb-phenomenon. I wonder what caused these countries to reject blurbs for so long. I’m not saying they’re wrong to do so – the UK and the US have it exaggerated – but it’s curious. The slips actually look quite classy (in Spain, at least) and at least they can be discarded if the reader doesn’t really give a crap about which famous author thought the book is “a masterpiece”.


The Surrender is Veronica Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning how she embraced her true gender.


Two long essays of 10,000 words each on sex in—and out of—literature . . .

The first essay dives in to Nicholson Baker’s “sex trilogy,” explaining just what Baker is up to here and why these books ultimately fail to be as sexy as Baker might wish.

From there the book moves on to the second essay, which explains just why Spaniard Javier Marías does right what Baker does wrong . . .


5 essays. 2 interviews.

All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

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