Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Book learning

According to Persephone Books, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is one of its best-selling title. So it wouldn't be surprising that the company mentioned the book periodically throughout its catalogue.

But Persephone Books doesn't refer to Miss Pettigrew periodically. It cites the novel repeatedly, redundantly, in descriptions for its other titles. The Making of a Marchioness "is in the Cinderella (and Miss Pettigrew) tradition..."; "The Casino, like Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day three years before..."; "Like Miss Pettigrew, [Lady Rose and Mrs Memmary] is a fairy tale for grown-ups..."; Miss Buncle's Book "is an entirely light-hearted, easy read, one of those books like Mariana, Miss Pettigrew..."

Persephone seems to think that its entire target market loved Miss Pettigrew. I haven't read the book myself, nor do I plan to. A Persephone blogger described it as "so light it practically floats", and I find it difficult to focus on books that defy the laws of gravity and refuse to stay put. But my antipathy for the hard sell made me refuse to consider buying any of the books in the catalogue that referenced Miss Pettigrew. And if I had actually read and disliked Miss Pettigrew, I may have hesitated to order anything at all from Persephone, so closely does the catalogue associate itself with that one book.--SC

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