These days any self-respecting new novel comes with a You Tube-friendly video – presumably in the hope that it will “go viral” and become some sort of internet phenomenon. Well, that’s fair enough in theory – the problem is that usually these video trailers are awful. Usually they feature the author squirming in front of a camera talking awkwardly about his or her book, and obviously wishing that they were somewhere else. Sometimes it’s a series of blurbs fading in and out with some gentle music playing behind – something that my nine year-old could probably cobble together in a couple of hours with iMovie.
This trailer, though, for all its nudge-and-a-wink knowingness, is hilarious. Its silliness seems to be an acknowledgement of the futility of the whole exercise. I don’t mind all the literary superstar chums hamming it up, and it’s always nice to see an author who doesn’t take himself too seriously. I especially liked the lesson in how to behave at a Paris Review party. And how can you resist a good (if old) Chekhov gag?
Of course, what’s so clever about the whole conceit is that this says absolutely nothing about the book. It’s all so terribly post-modern. Still, it was clever and funny enough to make me want to go and buy it – which is the point of it all, isn’t it?