Pick up a novel at the ol' Barney & Friends and check out the blurbs. Most likely they will look like this:

"Riveting...a thoughtful look into fear...that everyone has experienced."

"Haunting...really a great read."

"More than just a book...this is an...experience."

One could say these are excerpts from a larger review. But is this much patchwork really necessary to fish out a complementary phrase? Was the review that good in the first place? Is this some pseudo-intellectual marketing technique?


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Yeah that is the new one: "Unputdownable." As if you couldn't put the book down to eat, get something to drink, answer the door, etc etc etc... and just pick up the book and keep on reading and enjoying.

The oversell is so bad for authors too. Because there hasn't ever been the next Stephen King, or the female Stephen King. Or the next Thomas harris or the female Thomas Harris. I know they do it to grab your attention, but these boks are usually pretty good on their own merits. No need to rasie expectations to such levels.
The ellipsis has many uses. You named one of them in your final paragraph. And it *is* a marketing technique---You know, take out the bad parts, like in:

"More than just a book, this is a doorstop. This is an abysmal failure. As a reviewer it is perhaps the worst read in my experience."

They are also used for pauses in the middle of dialogue where some writers would interrupt in the middle of the sentence or speech with "he said" or whatever.

They are also used in the place of the semicolon, which in dialogue look stupid even if a college English professor is speaking them.

I have found myself abusing the ellipsis in posts on lists, perhaps because I have a series of separate thoughts which might look as stupid in a series of short-sentence paragraphs as the semicolon in the English professor's dialogue.

And yes, it is necessary to show where something has been left out---see abysmal failure quote.

All punctuation works where it works and doesn't work in other places.

The comment on the stupidity of punctuation appearance is a personal opinion.
:) I completely agree that the semicolon looks silly in dialog. It appears in narrative, separating two complete but interrelated sentences. That makes it a sophisticated construction. We may have complex thoughts or comments in letters or in narrative, but dialog tends to be simple and to the point. Furthermore, if you were to hear it spoken, the semicolon would disappear.
Furthermore, if you were to hear it spoken, the semicolon would disappear.

LOL!! Here is a little anecdote. Many years ago a graduate student in our department boarded for a time with one of the art history professors and his wife, who might be described, if you were being kind, as "pedantic." The grad student partook of meals with this family, and described the dinner table conversations to another friend. The professor and his wife, he said, "spoke in semi-colons." This meant that you could never interrupt them; any pause in the conversation was a semi-colon, indicating that more was to come! And more....and more....
Ah, yes. Very clever. There is, of course, another use, and that's the long string of similar phrases. :)
OK, next question. Which blurb would be more effective?

Contender A: "A heart-pounding ride through the criminal underground."

Contender B: "Heart-pounding...a ride through the criminal underground."
They don't mean the same thing. Heart-pounding by itself refers to the reader's experience. In that instance, ride through the underground explains setting. Written together, the heart-pounding is that of the characters on their ride.
I gave up reviewing one particular author because his publisher purported to quote me but actually removed all my qualifiers that indicated my reading experience was iffy. They made it sound like a golden read. A few of the required-but-not-included ellipses would have made their "quote" selections more realistic.
Exactly. What they did was dishonest.
I know this discussion has died down but I couldn't help but jump in. I’ve always assumed, perhaps wrongly, that those ellipses are for real and that true omissions have been made—for better or worse. That assumption grows out of personal experience. I was the victim of a blurb and the ellipses!

It was our habit on our Law Review board at our school to write our rejection letters with a small bit of friendly soft-soap wording at the beginning. Thus, our letters included: “although we find your article comprehensive and well-written, we find that we are not able to publish it at this time.” We might then explain our reasons for rejecting the article. For over a year, I was the person signing those letters.

My final quarter in law school, while I was engrossed with studying for the bar exam, I began to get phone calls from newspaper reporters, congressmen, and even someone from the FBI. It seems that someone who had submitted an article to the law review at some point under my watch (probably a fairly innocuous piece) went on to write a book. The author was the leader of one of, if not the, most notorious Arian supremist, anti-government, anti-everything groups of the time. The FBI considered the group and its leader highly dangerous. The book had been distributed (for free) to every member of Congress and every member of every state legislature. Moreover, right there on the back, in the top blurb position, it said, “ . . . comprehensive and well-written . . .” with my name, the name of our law review, and the name of our school!

I learned about this in a phone call from a national reporter out of California. Needless to say, I found studying very difficult! He Fed-Ex’d me a copy of the book, and when I read all the vile, ugly things that I had “endorsed” I was frightened as well.

I immediately had to call the state appellate judge that I was to go to work for and warn her about the potential bad press, as well as the firm I was working for in the interim. The university hired a law firm to represent the law school and me. Within a month, our congressman and representative read into the Congressional Record and the state legislative record that, indeed, I did not endorse the book.

Through all the distraction, I managed to keep on studying, and passed the bar, even with that bizarre distraction. Immediately, the law review’s standard language was changed; no stock language has been used since.

As you might imagine, I maintain a copy of that statement read to Congress—just in case I ever decide to run for public office or something. You just know that someone will find and drag book out of the closet!

And that is my story of a blurb and ellipses!
Surely there is recourse to that sort of misrepresentation!? In any case, the publicity machine must be made to print and publish retractions.
Umm, it sounds as though the publisher is responsible in this case.

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