Intellectual Curiosities and Provocations

Gary Shtynegart: A Blurbing Intervention

By Levi Asher on Sunday, January 6, 2013 08:45 pm

It's well known that hipster Brooklyn authors -- well, all authors, but especially hipster Brooklyn authors -- sometimes go too far in blurbing each other's novels. Recently the acclaimed comic novelist Gary Shtynegart, author of Absurdistan and Super Sad True Love Story was detected in the repeated act of excessive blurbing -- extreme blurbing, even -- and became the subject of a mocking Tumblr called The Collected Blurbs of Gary Shtynegart. He has now also become the subject a unique 15-minute documentary film, Schtynegart Blurbs, narrated by Jonathan Ames and directed and conceived by my friend Edward Champion.

The film amounts to a cinematic intervention, and a fascinating real-time case study of a literary habit gone off the rails. It's also fascinating for me because I show up in the film (around the five-minute mark) along with many other New York based literary brats including Joanna Smith Rakoff, A. M. Homes, Alan Shephard, Jeopardy champ Jacob Silverman, Ron Charles, Tobias Carroll, Michele Filgate, Joshua Henkin, Rachel Shukert, Sarah Weinman, Edmund White, John Wray, A.J. Jacobs, Alexander Nazaryan, Hari Kunzru, and even Molly Ringwald. In the end, blurb-crazed Gary Shtynegart makes an appearance and tries to explain himself. Check this movie out ...

4 Responses to "Gary Shtynegart: A Blurbing Intervention"

by Bill_Ectric on

Here's my blurb on this video:

"A sweeping feel-good indictment of literary inside trading... pitch perfect publishing peccadillos... it's Michael Moore meets The Office." - Bill Ectric

by TKG on

Don't they get paid for blurbs? Or am I mistaken?

"Great alley of acacian"? What?

Dude at 5 was best of the lot. Positive. "Spreading the love".

by Levi Asher on

Hi TKG -- no, I can't think of any case I ever heard of where anybody was paid for a blurb. Sometimes blurbs are quotations from published reviews, in which case the reviewer may have been paid for a review, but not for a blurb.

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