Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Trailer Park Tuesday: The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller

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.

I don't know how she did it, but Jennifer Miller managed to get a Who's Who of Modern American Journalism to read the opening lines of her debut novel The Year of the Gadfly for the camera.  Scratch that--I do know how she did it.  As you can see in the trailer's opening, Miller has an infectious, effervescent personality--one that even Dan Rather would be hard-pressed to resist.  Joining Rather in the Gadfly read-along are Christiane Amanpour, Brian Williams, former Secretary of State James Baker, NPR's Robert Siegel, Andrea Mitchell, Sam Donaldson and several other famous newshounds. She even managed to lasso a cameo from Mr. Scene-Stealer himself: novelist Gary Shteyngart (here posing as a reporter with an index card labeled "Press" stuck in his hat brim).  Most appealing are the high school journalism students who appear alongside the media celebs reading from Miller's book.  What they lack in polish is more than compensated by their enthusiasm.  The concept of the trailer is genius because The Year of the Gadfly is about a young journalist who uncovers a dark secret at her prep school.  Aided by the ghost of chain-smoking reporter Edward R. Murrow, she must figure out a way to expose the blackmail and rumors which threaten to destroy her favorite teacher.  The novel has been compared to Prep, The Secret History and Special Topics in Calamity Physics, but it has an appealing voice all its own.  Here are the opening lines, as read by Mr. Rather, et al:
      The days were already growing shorter, prodding us toward summer’s end, when my mother and I left Boston for the sequestered town of Nye. She hummed to the radio and I sat strapped into the passenger seat, like a convict being shuttled between prisons. In the last six months, my Beacon Hill neighborhood had shrunk to the size of a single room: Dr Patrick’s office, with its greasy magazines and hieroglyphic water stains. The vast landscape that opened before us now wasn’t any more comforting. The mountainous peaks resembled teeth. The road stretched between them like a black tongue. And here we were, in our small vehicle, speeding towards that awful mouth.
      From the maps and photographs I had uncovered at the Boston Public Library, I knew that Nye would be a nest of gloomy woods sunk into one of these mountains. The mountain had no name, which troubled me. Even the word "Nye" sounded like a negation, an absence, a place conflicted about its own existence.


  1. Brilliant. This just made my reading list - thanks!

  2. That trailer is unbelievable.

    I'm glad I have already read and liked this book - "Gadfly" is a good one.