Y, oh Y Giunti? The Horror!
One of the several imprints of the Florence-based publisher, Giunti Editore, is called “Y Giunti.” (The “Y” stands for “Young Adult”; unfortunately, the letter “Y” is known as “ipsilon” in Italian, so the pun in my title only works in one language. Which, when you think about it, is rather in the nature of puns.)
Y Giunti publishes the usual high-school-reading-list classics along with, here and there, books (and one uses the term loosely) written (and one uses the term loosely) by living authors. Item: L. A. Weatherly’s “Angel” series, in which a 16-year-old girl discovers she is half-Angel and must confront Alex, the Angel-slayer who has come to kill her because Angels have crossed over from another dimension to feed on human souls, but then she and Alex fall madly … oh, sorry. I dozed off there for a second.
In any case, because Y Giunti is all, like, way cool and networked and down with the young people, they are naturally flogging their Y Giunti books on Facebook and in a … wait for it … blog. Entitled, in an act of astonishing imagination, The Y Blog.
The latest news from The Y Blog is that Giunti will release four new “classic” titles on May 29th. As an April 30 post trumpets:
Our graphics department has created covers for these four new classics that feature a series of truly gorgeous men. Sensational to say the least! Here’s a preview of Heart of Darkness (in Italian, Cuore di tenebra – VV). What do you think? Isn’t it beautiful?
The blog then goes on to identify the man in the image (above) as James Ford, the actor known for his role as Sawyer on Lost (the character’s name was actually James “Sawyer” Ford, so a little confusion may be understandable. After all, the series went off the air three years ago, when the Giunti writer was only eight.)
Below that, though, there are links to other images of Josh Holloway, who may or may not strike you as “gorgeous” (to me he always seemed a little sweaty and greasy, plus I wondered how he managed to keep his chest shaved for six years on a desert island, but chacun à son goût).
OK, so the first issue is that the whole thing is so breathless and careless that it could have been written by a middle-schooler on her iPhone. So good on ya, Giunti, for verisimilitude.
But then there’s the really nagging question: What the hell does a shirtless Josh Holloway have to do with The Heart of Darkness, which, as you may remember, is just a tad on the sober side? It’s certainly no Harlequin Romance (which, in Italy are called Harmony novels; see, you always learn something here).
And finally, one wonders if Holloway actually got paid for the use of his image, which is blatantly ripped off from a photo available on the web. (You can see the original here or by clicking on the thumbnail.)
Repackaging The Heart of Darkness for teenyboppers with raging hormones is either marketing genius or a cynical, grubbing publicity ploy by people who despise both literature and readers. I’ll leave that to you.
Me, I’m just worried about what Y Giunti is going to put on the cover if they decide to bring out an edition of Moby Dick.
UPDATE: As of May 2, 2013, the The Y Blog page dedicated to Josh Holloway and Cuore di tenebra had disappeared, and news of the four upcoming “classic” titles had been reduced to this squib: “We’re still working on the covers, but we promise they’re going to be fabulous!”