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From the Australian, "Pessl's debut is clearly an example of hot young author syndrome but we should not hold the fact that she has it all -- looks, smarts, talent, commitment, youth and now serious dosh and success -- against her. It is not her fault that attractive writers are easier to market and therefore attract bigger book advances. (Note: anyone who thinks all authors look like Pessl hasn't attended enough writers festivals; the Zadie Smith factor is the exception, not the rule.) Hot young author syndrome is a symptom of market-led publishing. Happily, in this case it has also resulted in the publication of a book that happens to be a bloody good read."

Laura Tisdel, Marisha Pessl's publicist, "I know that there was quite a bidding war for Marisha's book—but that made sense to me because (on the marketing side) she is young and gorgeous, and the book is a detailed thriller with an engaging narrator and an unexpectedly sinister twist.”

Publisher's Weekly Starred Review, "Pessl's stunning debut is an elaborate construction modeled after the syllabus of a college literature course—36 chapters are named after everything from Othello to Paradise Lost to The Big Sleep—that culminates with a final exam. It comes as no surprise, then, that teen narrator Blue Van Meer, the daughter of an itinerant academic, has an impressive vocabulary and a knack for esoteric citation that makes Salinger's Seymour Glass look like a dunce. Following the mysterious death of her butterfly-obsessed mother, Blue and her father, Gareth, embark, in another nod to Nabokov, on a tour of picturesque college towns, never staying anyplace longer than a semester. This doesn't bode well for Blue's social life, but when the Van Meers settle in Stockton, N.C., for the entirety of Blue's senior year, she befriends—sort of—a group of eccentric geniuses (referred to by their classmates as the Bluebloods) and their ringleader, film studies teacher Hannah Schneider. As Blue becomes enmeshed with Hannah and the Bluebloods, the novel becomes a murder mystery so intricately plotted that, after absorbing the late-chapter revelations, readers will be tempted to start again at the beginning in order to watch the tiny clues fall into place. Like its intriguing main characters, this novel is many things at once—it's a campy, knowing take on the themes that made The Secret History and Prep such massive bestsellers, a wry sendup of most of the Western canon and, most importantly, a sincere and uniquely twisted look at love, coming of age and identity."

Ben Peek, "I don't trust good looking authors. Fuck that shit, I don't know how you can market authors on the back of their author photo. I might've bought this book, cause, outside the so-called brilliant teenage narrator, it kind of does sound interesting, form wise. But Pessl's looks ought to have nothing to do with this book. It's not like having a good looking author makes for a better book. What's worse, however, is that Pessl is only good looking in a very mainstream way, to take from this photo and, if such a person with these kind of looks is easy to market, then such a person with these kinds of looks is easy to dismiss as boring. So I shall do so."

Comments

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benpeek
Jul. 8th, 2006 01:58 am (UTC)
but what's with the geeky haircut?

;)
iagor
Jul. 8th, 2006 01:57 am (UTC)
So I take it you think she is hot :dies laughing:
benpeek
Jul. 8th, 2006 02:01 am (UTC)
well, from what you can tell in the photo, she's attractive in that actress/actor kind of way, but you can't tell a whole lot. however, it is, given the amount people talk about her being good looking, the only photo on google...

but personally, the image doesn't do a whole lot for me.
(no subject) - iagor - Jul. 8th, 2006 03:34 am (UTC) - Expand
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ex_benpayne119
Jul. 8th, 2006 02:28 am (UTC)
See I don't get that... why would you buy a book simply because you thought the author was hot? She's not gonna be getting her gear off inside, is she?

Surely, if you think she's all that, you should *not* buy the book, so that when you run into her on the street you can be all, oh really, you wrote that book? *yawn*, yeah, didn't read that. The reviews all focused on your looks? *Really*?

benpeek
Jul. 8th, 2006 02:42 am (UTC)
it's just another sign of the things that are important in society losing place to how good looking you are. i mean, really, looks have absolutely nothing to do with writing...
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coppervale
Jul. 8th, 2006 03:18 am (UTC)
Ben, you've opened my eyes, and I thank you.

I've just instructed my publisher to remove any author photo they may have considered putting on my books, lest any perceived hotness affect the buying patterns of my readers.

(Whew. That was close...)
benpeek
Jul. 8th, 2006 03:20 am (UTC)
:P

mock mock
coppervale
Jul. 8th, 2006 03:27 am (UTC)
I originally sent them THIS one as a joke ->

Not realizing that 1) Most people there are too young to know who Orson Welles was; and 2) they wouldn't know that WASN'T what I looked like.

It ALMOST ended up in the Fall '06 catalog.

And it ALMOST would have been worth it.... ;)
benpeek
Jul. 8th, 2006 03:30 am (UTC)
heh. i think most people think of welles as the older, fatter man. the cripple, as he was, in many ways, i suppose.
(no subject) - squirrel_monkey - Jul. 8th, 2006 04:23 am (UTC) - Expand
kazzibee
Jul. 8th, 2006 05:34 am (UTC)
RAAAARRRRR!
benpeek
Jul. 9th, 2006 01:21 am (UTC)
argh?
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ataxi
Jul. 8th, 2006 06:46 am (UTC)
She's stunning in that photo. If she wants to use it to sell her books she should go ahead. Sales have nothing to do with good writing anyway - so why not debase a book's exterior to get them?
benpeek
Jul. 9th, 2006 01:21 am (UTC)
sure, but if they're going to do that, then i've a right not to buy the book based on that.
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(Deleted comment)
benpeek
Jul. 9th, 2006 01:19 am (UTC)
you just say that cause you're pretty. we can't trust you, either!
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - benpeek - Jul. 9th, 2006 04:26 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - benpeek - Jul. 9th, 2006 04:39 am (UTC) - Expand
ex_chrisbil
Jul. 8th, 2006 11:40 am (UTC)
She's got a receeding hairline!

(So have I...)

Damn, I'm pretty.
ex_chrisbil
Jul. 8th, 2006 11:41 am (UTC)
Wanna watch me comb my hair, really fast?
(no subject) - benpeek - Jul. 9th, 2006 01:20 am (UTC) - Expand
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frogworth
Jul. 8th, 2006 04:04 pm (UTC)
Haha poor girl.
Nah, not really. But Ben, your visage would sell your books like fucken HOT CAKES. Shaven-headed bearded hot cakes.

Anyway, was great to see you tonight, and sorry it took me a second to recognize you!
benpeek
Jul. 9th, 2006 02:18 am (UTC)
it was cool, man. you were doing your thing. i figured i'd just come up, say hi, anyhow. but it was good seeing you. and of course, now i have returned to writing dodgy gig write ups with dodgy photos :)

(my face'd stop people from buying books, i reckon)
stevecav
Jul. 19th, 2006 06:01 am (UTC)
Point, Ben. And I'm not just saying that because we share the same hairstyle.

It's like in the corporate world, where only those with height and hair succeed. These qualities, apparently, arm the (male) applicant perfectly for the business world.

(Anonymous)
Dec. 7th, 2006 05:29 am (UTC)
You kiss like tuna
I just stumbled across this thread when i was googling Marisha Pessl,

I can't believe your cocky little rants, hilarious.....

Why so much diatribe when y'all haven't even read the thing?

Her photo? Who cares. Unless she's talented it don't mean a thing.

It's a great book and furthermore, it's original. So, don't judge a book by it's cover!
benpeek
Dec. 7th, 2006 08:27 am (UTC)
Re: You kiss like tuna
read the original post, person who will never return. why should a good looking author be easier to market than an ugly one? it shouldn't. but if they're going to make a point out of her being hot for her book, then, du'h, i'll make fun of it.
(Anonymous)
Mar. 19th, 2008 08:14 am (UTC)
Mr. Prezident.
H. Klinton vs Obama. How you think who will win elections?
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