Thursday, 17 November 2016

Class Novel 1: "What She Does Next Will Astound You" by James Goss (2016)

contains SPOILERS

"Don't judge a book by its cover", they have said since time immemorial (or, at least, since whenever books had cover art). But what about a book's title? After all, judging a book by its title is fair game, isn't it? Covers are trivial things, commissioned by publishing houses and crafted by people who do those disturbingly creative, visual arts like drawing (shock horror), but titles are noble and full of profundity and depth and meaning? Right?

In a sense this question of judging actual content on the basis of a mere pithy summary, of trusting what you're told, is at the heart of James Goss' novel "What She Does Next Will Astound You" - appropriately, too, given the novel boasts such an excellent title (and a rather lovely cover, too, but that's by-the-by). It's the kind of title you'd simply have to retrace your steps in a bookshop to look at again. It hooks you. Draws you in. It's blatantly constructed with that one purpose in mind: to get you to read it. And that, of course, is why it's so terribly effective, because Goss is both trying to get you to buy his book and simultaneously satirizing our insta-news, BuzzFeed, click-bait, oversharing, five-more-minutes-browsing-the-pointlessness-of-the-Internet culture. You know the kind of titles I mean: "What This Girl Did For A Homeless Man Will Blow Your Mind" or "Top 10 Reasons Not To Eat Ginger With Parsley" or whatever.