Are we not witty and intelligent?

Making books go beep this afternoon in my wee library, I happened to catch a few lines of a back cover publisher’s blurb.  I had a bit of a rant a few weeks ago about blurbs, and Jane’s recent post about New Zealand writing has also occasioned lots of comments.  This one has really left me scratching my head, so I’m sharing with you.

Thing is, I’m not actually going to tell you the name of the book, or the author, but I AM going to copy out the offending sentence from the back cover.  Because I think I kind of feel insulted – on behalf of New Zealand authors, at least.  I think.  Unless I should feel proud that we DO produce good writers.  I’m confused.

Note that I am not in any way questioning the quality of the book itself, and in fact when I was waving it around another librarian said that it WAS in fact a beautifully written and fabulous book – so good that she went and bought her own copy after reading it in the library.

Read the blurb yourself, and let me know what you think.  And for an extra challenge, identify the book and the author.

These are glimpses from the memoir of a distinguished senior civil servant written in a tradition of wit, elegance, learning and intelligence more familiar in Europe than in New Zealand’s own literary history …