Monday, April 6, 2009

The Perfect Prose for a Pisces Like Me

While I'm a big fan of genre fiction, I'm an even bigger fan of the sub-genres. That's why I nearly vomited with joy when I read a recent post by The Hipster Book Club's Dorothy Parka describing an almost fetishistic off-shoot of the historical fiction/romance genre: Scottish Female Herring Worker fiction.
A quick Googling of this phrase brings up just two applicable results. The first is an article from the Social Semiotics scholarly journal analyzing the way SFHWs are portrayed on the covers of romance novels. (Cost to read it: $30. Amount I'm being paid to write this blog post: $0. Guess it's gonna have to wait.*) The second is a name: Evelyn Hood.
Google Hood's name, and you'll find that she's a Scottish journalist-turned-novelist and the author of at least two different SFHW titles, A Sparkle of Salt and The Shimmer of the Herring. According to the reviewers on, both books are well worth picking up. Apparently, Hood is an accomplished storyteller whose detailed descriptions of salty seas, gutted fish, and passionate embraces have helped many a reader reach orgasm. (No small feat!)
Anything this bizarre is usually worth at least a cursory glance. But this is sooo bizarre...I don't know...I feel like I need to read an SFHW novel A.S.A.P. If anyone has a recommendation for a title to start with, please let me know in the comments section below. Until then, I'll be down at the docks, looking for horny herring girls.

*Although I've never been published in any quote-unquote "scholarly journals," I do tend daily to a barely read, bookstore blog. I figure that's gotta qualify me to write at least two lines of cover art analysis, no? Hell, I'll even try and make it dry and pretentious like a real scholarly journal. Well, here goes: The SFHW covers look like old, Chinese propaganda posters as redesigned by Leni Riefenstahl and Alex Ross. Of particular note is the complete lack of any painterly portrayals of Fabio-looking lotharios, which hints at a more progressive brand of female wish fulfillment. Voila! Painless and pretentious, just like I promised. And best of all, it was free!

For more information on the real life 'herring girls' who inspired these nutty niche novels, click here and here.