Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Today's Favourite Book Blurb

This comes from 'The Shadow of Happiness', by Betty Manvers:

'MIRANDA MARKHAM, who has lived all her life in a London suburb with her father, never travelling any further than the coast for her annual holiday, suddenly learns that her mother, who she has always believed died when she was very young, is the talented concert pianist Miriam Sarelle. Miriam has been mauled by a lion while on safari in Africa, and the radio reports that her right arm has had to be amputated. Gerald Markham, Miranda's father, asks her to go out to Africa to Miriam, who he feels will be in need of someone of her own. He has never ceased to love her since she left him twenty years previously. The first person Miranda meets on arrival at Livingstone is Brett Craybourne, the big game hunter who has organized the safari on which Miranda had been hurt; she falls in love with him, but realises that there is little hope of her love being reciprocated...'

It sounds a corker.

I'm glad that Miriam managed to hang on to the left arm. At least she could still perform this piece:


Kári Tulinius said...

The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein had a brother, Paul, who was famous for being a one-armed concert pianist.

Also, with book blurbs, less is always more. There is a fine art to writing a good summary. Most books sound ridiculous when summed up in a few, breathless sentences.

Brian Busby said...

Any blurb that should be prefaced by "SPOILER ALERT" is a failure.

The last novel I read, John Buell's Four Days (Farrar, Straus & Cudahy, 1962), came wrapped in a jacket that provides not only a detailed synopsis of the first half, but reveals that the protagonist will die in the end.

Um... should I have written "SPOILER ALERT"?

Steerforth said...

I agree Kári - there is a fine art to writing a good summary and the author of that blurb didn't seem to have the knack.

I think Paul Wittgenstein commissioned the Ravel Piano Concerto, plus a few other pieces that enabled him to continue his career.

Steerforth said...

Well Brian, I'll have to cross John Buell off the list now.

I remember reading the introduction to a Penguin paperback of Jude the Obscure and on the first page, it mentioned the "SPOILER ALERT" death of Jude. That really ruined the book for me (I was in my teens and wasn't aware of Hardy's reputation for relentlessly grim, melodramatic endings).

lucy joy said...

Simon Bates read that(scintillating)blurb to me, with the haunting sound of Romeo and Juliet's Love Theme in the background.
Let's not forget Def Leppard's one-armed drummer while we're on the subject of musicians.
I once asked a one-armed man if he wanted to join my brother and I for a game of pool, and as a waitress I asked a blind couple to "give me a shout when you see me pass".
Would you like to be a concert pianist, Steerforth?

Poetry24 said...

I'll be giving 'The Shadow of Happiness' a miss, and as someone who can't even manage Chopsticks on the piano with two hands, I can only marvel at anyone who can play with one.

Steerforth said...

Lucewoman - A concert pianist? In another life, in which I'd started piano lessons at six rather than 16, who knows?

The only thing I can/could do is write incidental music for plays (not that I've written any since I was 24).

I like the idea of Simon Bates reading the blurb in his dulcet, nasal tones.

Martin - if you change your mind, I'll happily send you a copy ;)

Anonymous said...

Wow! Just reading the blurb and I am exhausted! I don't think I'd have the strength to actually read the book!
Canadian Chickadee

The Poet Laura-eate said...

How very contrived. I was exhausted just reading the blurb.

Camilla said...

Continuing the theme of left-handed pianists, I thought you might like this video of Dutch pianist Wibi Soerjadi playing his arrangement of the Pirates of the Caribbean theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcsCG6Fgykc


Steerforth said...

Thanks Camilla - that was superb!

Full credit to the sustaining pedal too ;)