Lots of very clever decisions have been made about this blurb, with a really effective result. It could so easily have been diluted by the varying demands of different departments, but this has clearly been pushed confidently through the publisher’s systems - and that confidence makes every aspect of it work well.
Firstly, there is no blurb on the back cover — it appears on the very stylish and eyecatching endpapers. A really clever touch is the way in which the text at the top and bottom hangs together visually and tonally, to give even the busiest consumer an instant and arresting snapshot of the book and to arouse your curiosity to read more.
The copy is really disturbing once its implications begin to sink in. While it is amusingly old fashioned, it also has unsettling echoes of fascism and eugenics. It gives you a real sense of the tone of the book - direct, confident and unusual. It manages to convey a voice, a setting and a combination of humour and horror without descending into plot outlines or celebrity reviews. It also makes you feel both uncomfortable and intrigued, by suggesting that you, by picking it up, must think you belong to the “people with breeding”. You start to question your own motives and attitudes immediately, but need to read the book to find out the answers.
I love the emerging trend of blurbs that convey tone and atmosphere rather than tell me the plot or what Nick Hornby thought of the proof copy. I haven’t read this… but I really really want to. I’m intrigued.