Now we are well aware that all of you lovely connected people will no doubt receive umpteen forwarded emails every day, bearing constantly amended titles such as: ‘You have to check this out’, or ‘So so funny – you have to read’ or the ever-intriguing ‘Awesome Friday fun LOL’.
Obviously, the clearly fake sarcastic email correspondance between a man and his uncooperative insurance company or pictures of cats on trampolines (can I haz bounce?) which follow, are almost always a dissapointment. Imagine our delight, therefore, when we were sent one that we actually enjoyed reading…
It is perhaps no surprise that the copy was slick, sharp and engaging – it was keyed by a critically acclaimed writer, Jason Elliot. He is best known for his travel-based nonfiction, specifically, An Unexpected Light, Travels in Afghanistan and Mirrors of the Unseen, Journeys in Iran. His latest work, however, is something of a departure – a rip-roaring, Bourne-esque espionage thriller set just before the events of 9/11.
His email – sent presumably to most of the contacts in his address book – begins: ‘This message is to acquaint you with a new book released this week in the UK by Bloomsbury. It is not the kind of book I would normally read but, since I wrote it, I did have to study it quite closely.’
He follows by explaining, ‘Those of you who did not fully relish my last book about cryptic metaphysical symbolism in Persian geometric art will be relieved to know that The Network is a page-turning thriller. The terms ‘epistemological’ and ‘ontological‘ do not appear. Instead, there are lots of details about guns, explosions, and descriptions of women from hot countries.’
His motive is then made clear when he says: ‘A book of this kind is several years in the making. I calculate that, in order to have any hope of educating my children from the royalties, each recipient of this message will need to:
a) Buy at least one copy of the book
b) Forward this message to everyone in his or her address book
c) Forward this message to a further 150,000 friends, and encourage them to do the same
If you can’t do that, don’t worry. Your chances of finding true love, of receiving unexpected money, or of experiencing either good or bad luck are probably about the same. But if you do buy it, your chances of enjoying a good read are much, much higher. And if enough people buy it, I will be encouraged to write a sequel – since you, dear reader, are the one who ultimately makes writing worthwhile.’
Obviously we wouldn’t want to spoil the effect by paraphrasing the whole thing, and quite clearly we can’t forward the email to every reader. However, we feel it only fair to contribute to the viral buzz which Elliot clearly trying to generate by pasting it in a PDF for you all to see. Link below.