Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Trailer Park Tuesday: Safe as Houses by Marie-Helene Bertino

Welcome to Trailer Park Tuesday, a showcase of new book trailers and, in a few cases, previews of book-related movies.  Unless their last name is Grisham or King, authors will probably never see their trailers on the big screen at the local cineplex.  And that's a shame because a lot of hard work goes into producing these short marriages between book and video.  So, if you like what you see, please spread the word and help these videos go viral.

The book trailer for Marie-Helene Bertino's collection of short stories, Safe as Houses, is as fresh as clean bedsheets, bread just pulled from the oven, and mountain water springing from a glacier.  In the space of two-and-a-half minutes, the video manages tell us everything we need to know about the short stories while telling us nothing concrete about their plots.  Summarizing short fiction in an equally short trailer can be a challenge--how do you describe a dozen different plots in rapid succession?  In the case of Safe as Houses, you don't.  It's too big a task to encapsulate stories which are already compressed to something as small, tight and hard as diamonds.  So, you give the viewers a sense of what's in store for them between the covers.  In this case, that means a disparate parade of video clips: an interview with Bob Dylan, a cartoon, a shot of a stadium being demolished, infomercials, silent films, footage of some nuns dancing around pillars, and--well, you get the idea.  This is a delicious stew of images that goes to work on the undercarriage of your consciousness so that you walk away knowing everything and nothing about the book.  I haven't read the collection, so I'm not sure how literally they relate to the stories.  But it doesn't matter because that's not the point.  The idea of a book trailer is to intrigue, to hook, to make us sit up from our bored slouch and say, "WTF?!!"  In that case, Safe as Houses is fresh as eggs.

1 comment:

  1. Good share. A trailer is not in my immediate future, but I can see the craft at work here. Media crossover can be exciting. Thanks!