Muriel Spark

Day Eight

I have been asked to write a blurb for my new novel, Reality and Dreams. I declined. I always do. It is embarrassing to me to give my own work the praise that the publishers need for a blurb. Quite rightly, they want to attract readers. I can do this professionally, due to my experience in publishing, for other writers, but not for myself.

In general I feel most books are wildly overpraised. If you look up “excellent” in Roget’s Thesaurus, you get four superheadings to begin with. Your abundant choice of adjectives to describe the book will fall under “great,” “supreme,” “perfect,” and “splendid.” The ramifications from these four headings are overwhelming and also overemployed.

There used to be, and probably still is, a Pure Food and Drugs Act, which prevented suppliers from labeling their wares that which was not actually within or inherent to these goods. I don’t see why this should not apply to books. The consumer should be protected from a book unscrupulously labeled “superb,” “paramount,” “dazzling.” I will let my publisher do his best, but myself, I am Pontius Pilate and I wash my hands of it.