Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Trailer Park Tuesday: World Gone Water Jaime Clarke

Welcome to Trailer Park Tuesday, a showcase of new book trailers and, in a few cases, previews of book-related movies.

Jaime Clarke, co-owner of Newtonville Books and author of Vernon Downs, has come out with a prequel to his debut novel. World Gone Water expands the character of Charlie Martens, first introduced in Vernon Downs, a young man grappling with how to navigate the world. For the trailer to promote World Gone Water, Clarke enlisted the help of some author friends--and by “some,” I mean “a lot.” For your convenience, here’s the list of cameos, in the order of appearance:
Mary Cotton
Alden Jones
J. Robert Lennon
Maile Chapman
Frederick Barthelme
Andre Dubus III
Brock Clarke
Molly Antopol
Ed Park
David Bezmozgis
Jac Jemc
Shelly Oria
David Ryan
Nathaniel Rich
Hannah Pittard
Dennis Lehane
Katherine Hill
Victoria Redel
Gary Shteyngart
Scott Cheshire
Joseph Salvatore
Celeste Ng
Matthew Specktor
Kent Wascom
Vendela Vida
Josh Weill
Darin Strauss
Moon Unit Zappa
The trailer is narrated by actress Thora Birch (American Beauty, Ghost World) who reads from the opening chapter while a rapid succession of clips shows fellow authors silently reading from the pages of the book. It’s the same technique Clarke used for the Vernon Downs trailer. Nothing against Ms. Birch’s vocal talents (which are quite good indeed), but I think I would have preferred to hear the authors themselves reading aloud. Rather than concentrating on the words coming from Birch’s mouth, I found myself watching the readers, some of whom really read the words, others who just playact (the precisely-timed eyebrow arch, the studied turn of a page, etc.). I had to go back through the trailer a second time with my eyes closed to concentrate on what she was saying (the nervous excitement of a prom date, as it turns out). But maybe that was just me, maybe I allowed my attention to slip as I tried to identify the authors, maybe I was distracted by Kent Wascom’s scene-stealing peacock. The point of any trailer is to get me interested in the book and to make sure I remember it the next time I’m browsing a bookstore. If so, then well done, Mr. Clarke.

P. S. To read an excerpt from World Gone Water, head over to Lit Hub.

P. S. S. To read a group interview with Clarke and some of the authors in the trailer, head over to The Brooklyn Rail.

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