Quick Hits

Truth in Advertising

By posted at 2:15 pm on October 16, 2007 1

coverThough we try to pass over blog-bait, we can’t resist directing your attention to the print ad campaign for the paperback version of Jonathan Franzen’s The Discomfort Zone. “From the acclaimed memoir by the author of The Corrections” runs the copy, above several blurbs:

  • “Funny, masterfully composed” – Gregory Kirschling, Entertainment Weekly
  • “[A] total lack of humor…perverse” – Daniel Mendelsohn, The New York Times Book Review
  • “Luminous, essential reading” – Tim Adams, The Observer (London)
  • “Odious…incredibly annoying” – Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

This is postmodern advertising at its best: honest, funny, provocative… and almost enough to reconsider our decision not to read the book.

[Editor’s note: We wish we could find a version of this ad online, but Harper’s readers can find it on page 51 of the November issue]

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One Response to “Truth in Advertising”

  1. richard
    at 9:45 pm on October 22, 2007

    Yeah, it is postmodern and funny, and the same tactic worked on me with Chip Kidd's The Cheese Monkeys, which included both cheers and jeers among the blurbs on the back cover. Unfortunately I was barely able to finish that annoying, unnecessarily self-satisfied book, and it's left me distrustful of the tactic itself.

    Even though I like Franzen's essays and The Corrections, I don't know that I'll be rushing to pick up The Discomfort Zone. Kakutani's loathing makes it a tempting purchase, but not tempting enough.

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