Birth of a New Book


Greetings from Vermont, and Happy New Year!

It is with great pleasure that I write to tell you about a stunning debut, that of David’s Inferno, a remarkable book which many in the publishing community are already calling, “an instant classic.”  I am the lucky agent for this book, and my own publisher, Hatherleigh Press, bought it from me last year. The most satisfying piece of my work, as a new literary agent, is selling a book, and having it start getting noticed! I am excited to write this post because we just got the presale numbers from Random House TODAY, and they have exceeded our expectations!

Not since William Styron’s Darkness Visible, or more recently Kay Jamison’s An Unquiet Mind, has a book made the experience of depression so understandable and real—both for those who suffer from it and the people who care for them. David’s Inferno combines intensely personal reminiscences of the author’s two-year nervous breakdown with contemporary insights on how major depression manifests, is diagnosed, and treated. At the same time, its gentleness and wry humor offer hope that there is a way through the minefield, and real light at the end of the tunnel.

As acclaimed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns writes in his Foreword, author David Blistein “has given us all a map and some basic instructions for doing the hard work we may need to summon when the inevitable vicissitudes of life threaten even the most controlled and controlling among us.”

With its reflections on Dante’s own journey through the Dark Wood and fascinating discussions of diagnostics, drugs, and alternative medicine, David’s Inferno goes way beyond memoir to explore depression’s ability to transform our relationships, our creativity, and our very selves.

I welcome your comments and endorsements as the book begin its own journey toward publication. I am booking a tour for April, 2013, when the author and I will be traveling to promote the book—if you are interested in having him come and read and sign copies, please let me know. He is a very entertaining reader! I have advance reader copies to send out to reviewers . . .  email or call me, as his publicist….. Thanks for your support! —Dede /  or by phone 802-380-1121


Here are some reviews that have been published . . . with more coming daily . . .

“Beyond the obvious—that it’s a travelogue of an emotional journey, a Fodor’s Guide to the troubled soul—the great insight of David’s Inferno is that life and literature are interwoven, that we can look to even ancient books for wisdom, diagnoses, and hope. Blistein’s frenetic, torturous—and surprise, funny!—tale offers all three in just the proper dosages.”
J.C. Hallman, author of Wm & H’ry: Literature, Love, and the Letters Between William and Henry James

“There is no hushed reverence, no self-aggrandizing, no simple tried and true cures… just a shared battle and a stunning honesty.”
Will Ackerman, Grammy Award winner and founder of Windham Hill Records


and, because I am huge typophile-nerd of letterpress and typefaces…. I created a colophon for the back page of the book, since I used a typeface called DANTE:

A Note on the Type

David’s Inferno was typeset in Dante, which was designed from 1946 to 1954 by Giovanni Mardersteig at the Officina Bodoni, as the press returned to full production after the Second World War. Mardersteig goal was to create a new book face type with an italic face that worked seamlessly and elegantly with the roman. The designer was meticulous about detail, and he continued refining Dante for years. Dante was the last and final type that Mardersteig’s designed, as well as one of his finest. The name comes from an edition of Trattatello in laude di Dante by Boccaccio—the first book to use Dante—which was published at the Officina Bodoni in 1955, the year that the Monotype Corporation of London issued the typeface for machine composition. The new digital version of Dante, redrawn by Monotype’s Ron Carpenter, is free from any restrictions imposed by hot metal technology. In 1993, Dante was issued in a range of three weights with a set of titling capitals, which are used for page titles or headings.


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