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I’ve never been a big fan of blurbs. They can be clich&#233d and overwrought. Too often, the blurber is a friend of the author and the praise is aimed at the friend not the work. Why can’t we be honest and just acknowledge it as advertising&#8212or better yet&#8212excise them from book covers?

Nicole Krauss, author of The History of Love, has been garnering a lot of attention recently for her effusive praise of David Grossman’s upcoming novel, To the End of the Land. Read this, then tell me how you feel about blurbs:

Very rarely, a few times in a lifetime, you open a book and when you close it again nothing can ever be the same. Walls have been pulled down, barriers broken, a dimension of feeling, of existence itself, has opened in you that was not there before. To the End of the Land is a book of this magnitude. David Grossman may be the most gifted writer I’ve ever read; gifted not just because of his imagination, his energy, his originality, but because he has access to the unutterable, because he can look inside a person and discover the unique essence of her humanity. For twenty-six years he has been writing novels about what it means to defend this essence, this unique light, against a world designed to extinguish it. To the End of the Land is his most powerful, shattering, and unflinching story of this defense. To read it is to have yourself taken apart, undone, touched at the place of your own essence; it is to be turned back, as if after a long absence, into a human being.
—Nicole Krauss

As an aside, on this day in 1928 sliced bread was sold for the first time by the Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, Missouri. It was called “the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped”.

After reading Ms. Krauss’ blurb, perhaps we can all agree that To the End of the Land is the greatest thing since…

David Isaacson
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