“No classic title is safe from the onslaught of literary mash-ups.”
J. D. Salinger’s The Nightmare In The Rye
Synopsis: Teenagers dream of playing in a field of rye near the edge of a cliff. As they approach the brink, they are suddenly disemboweled by a hideously scarred maniac with razor-sharp fingernails: Freddy Caulfield. Caulfield is a once promising prep-school student who was expelled for cheating. Despondent over his failure to live up to his own high ethical standards, he set fire to himself. Now he reaches out and kills “phonies” in their sleep.
Back Cover Blurbs: “A real page-turner—will keep you up all night! You won’t be able to close your eyes!” “To sleep, perchance to dream of being on the New York Times bestsellers list!”
Marketing Tie Ins: Starbucks coffee, Red Bull energy drink, Breaking Bad crystal meth.
Major Themes: The subjectivity of reality. The meaninglessness of materialism. Goddamn phonies.
Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Invisible Man
Synopsis: A young, gifted but frustrated black scientist attempts to gain the recognition of his white peers—and the Nobel Prize committee—by inventing an invisibility serum. But something goes horribly wrong: not only can’t he turn visible again, but the “white establishment” continues to ignore his accomplishments. Driven mad, he embarks on a murderous reign of terror before disappearing altogether.
Back Cover Blurbs: “A vision of racial inequality in an America blinded to injustice!” “Black, white, and soon to be read all over!”
Marketing Tie-Ins: Ray-Ban sunglasses, Hermes leather gloves, Ace bandages.
Major Themes: White man’s inhumanity to black man. Black man’s inhumanity to black man. How difficult it is to get dressed when you can’t see yourself.
Harper Lee’s To Kill The Mocking Birds
Synopsis: A small, bigoted, Southern town is invaded by a murderous flock of birds. After several leading citizens are pecked to death, suspicion falls on a poor, black, illiterate sharecropper with a withered arm and a pet parakeet. Only one courageous white girl suspects the real madman behind the mayhem: a mysterious, reclusive ornithologist who lives in an old, dark house up the street and operates the Bates motel on the side. Things come to a frightening conclusion on All Hallow’s Eve.
Back Cover Blurbs: “The feathers really fly in this one!” “A bird’s eye view into the dark underbelly of the American nightmare!” “Boo Radley will scare the living guano out of you!”
Marketing Tie-Ins: KFC—original recipe or extra gory.
Major Themes: The loss of innocence. The loss of community. The loss of $9.95
Robert Brenner’s work has appeared in New York magazine, Open Salon, and Happy. He lives in New York City with his wife.