Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Paperback 276: The Hunger and the Hate / H. Vernor Dixon (Gold Medal 454)

Paperback 276: Gold Medal 454 (PBO, 1955)

Title: The Hunger and the Hate
Author: H. Vernor Dixon
Cover artist: James Meese

Yours for: $11

Best things about this cover:

  • "I'm hungry." "Well, I hate you." The End.
  • His hat is fabulous but his tie looks like something he ripped off an early-80s New Wave keyboard player.
  • "The world was his and conquered" has to be one of the most inelegant and awkward opening gambits in mainstream paperback cover copy history. "The world was his ... and then a woman took it all a way" would work. So would "He conquered the world ... but then a woman took it all away." So would "He was a traveling salesman with a hankering for Mexican restaurant waitresses..."

Best things about this back cover:

  • Crop. Zoom. Reverse image. Change to B&W. There. Now you can really feel the Hunger. And the Hate.
  • Jeez, it's a whole frickin' short story back here. Concision!
  • What's his name again? I forgot ... you only said it four times.
  • "Hey, ya know what a good place for a paragraph break would be? The middle of a sentence." (see last two "paragraphs")

Page 123~

He thought of Truly and dissected her in his mind and liked little of what he found and wondered why he had been such a damned fool as to accept her invitation.

Strangely, the part of this sentence I hate most is "as to."


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pious agnostic said...

"Does the enchilada come with lettuce?"


"And is the lettuce young and turbulent?"

"Oh, si, senior!"

"Great, because that's the way I like it."

DemetriosX said...

The Hunger and the Hate -- starring Darren McGavin and... who is that, not Anne Francis, but close. Maybe it's an episode of the Nightstalker.

I think the "not caring whom he ruined" on the back copy is nore jarring than the "as to". Yeah, it's grammatically correct, but it screws with the rhythm of the sentence.

That Hank said...

Wait, it's about the lettuce industry? Oh, yeah, that's exciting.

Katie said...

Um, you really can't stand on the top rung of a ladder. Just saying.

JamiSings said...

Katie - I found some folks who'd beg to differ -

JamiSings said...

Sorry, one more for Katie, though it takes him about four and a half minutes to even get to bringing out the ladder.

P.M. said...

He eventually overcame her refusal to use lettuce at her restaurant and the practice of throwing shredded iceberg lettuce on everything at crappy Mexican eateries was born.

Tulse said...

I'm confused by the start of the back cover blurb, but perhaps I'm mistaking this Dean Holt for that other, less ladder-climby Dean Holt.

Whichever Dean Holt he is, he looks like kinda a schmoe, but I guess that's to be expected of someone whose grand ambitions to conquer are confined to produce.

Eunice said...

That is Darren McGavin!

Maybe they're having a weird version of a staring contest. Or she's playing the "I'm ignoring you" game.

I like how he's going to conquer A world, not THE world. It's jarring.

Who knew lettuce could be so cut throat?

He has big cars and a lavish home, but still dresses like a door-to-door salesman.

Michael5000 said...

Ha ha, me and my hearing, it almost sounded like you said "lettuce industry." Now, what was it really?

Lisa in Oz said...

downtown guy totally stole my line.

Readingreadingreading - screeching to a sudden halt. "Lettuce industry"?

Deb said...

I think we'd all agree that when you're really, really, really hungry, lettuce is the only thing that satisfies!

Lindsey said...

The writing on the cover is so horrid. I can only imagine the inside. Yuck.

Alix said...

Front cover: neither one is looking at the other. Very clever, replacing dramatic tension with boredom.

Back cover: the grammar was damn near making my head hurt, but all was forgiven when I read the words "rich, turbulent young lettuce industry". HA! They say the mob is tough? It's got nothing on PRODUCE.

Dan said...

He conquered the world?!? Whuzis, a book about Ming the Merciless?

Patrick Murtha said...

There is a fairly positive review at the "Reading California Fiction" blog:

I agree that the hat is great. The tie is fine; it's in period. Nice belt, too.

Speaking as a red-blooded gay American male, I find Mr. Dean Holt quite hot.

Elaine said...

Turbulent lettuce....You guys are making fun of turbulent lettuce?!?

Wait til you get one of those bagged salads with a couple of bad arugula leaves mixed in. You'll find out about turbulent! Ha!

Lora said...

Wow. I don't think I've ever actually laughed till I cried before but "rich, turbulent young lettuce industry" and the accompanying comments actually brought tears to my eyes.

It's so completely unexpected on the back cover. You're thinking pulp fiction: hardboiled detectives, juvenile delinquents, femmes fatales, twilight worlds...and the "rich, turbulent young lettuce industry."