For a new author, getting a blurb on the cover of your debut novel from an established and well-respected writer can be an incredible honor that rockets your book to the top of the bestseller list. Unfortunately, it looks like one highly acclaimed author has used his invitation to write a book blurb for completely selfish ends: Salman Rushdie used his blurb for this young author’s debut novel to advertise a speedboat he’s trying to sell.

Just awful. Salman Rushdie should be ashamed of himself!

Rushdie placed his disgraceful and self-serving blurb on the front cover of Ocean Vuong’s highly anticipated debut novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, and it’s an absolute travesty. Instead of focusing on the quality of Vuong’s storytelling or his inventive prose style, the Booker Prize winner used his blurb to highlight the price and overall condition of his 24-foot Bayliner Ciera pleasure yacht to see if anyone was interested in buying it, writing the following:

“A stunning debut novel with poetic writing as agile and powerful as the ’96 Bayliner 2355 Ciera speedboat I am currently selling for just $3150. Like this novel, this boat feels completely new and runs like a dream. Radio intact. Upholstery in very good condition (only MINOR stains). If interested in purchase, contact me at Rushdie_S@gmail.com. Pictures of boat available on back cover of this book. NO RETURNS.”

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C’mon, Salman! This is totally out of line.

Vuong has got to feel devastated that a celebrated author like Rushdie would use the space on his first novel’s cover to try to alert potential buyers to the condition of his speedboat’s upholstery, and he has every right to be. This is a complete misuse of a book blurb, and Rushdie definitely owes Vuong an apology. Hopefully next time Rushdie is asked to blurb a new author’s book, he uses the opportunity responsibly instead of turning the front cover into his own personal Craigslist!

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