Burning Barn (Answer 2/9)

Question:  Boris Yasmilye’s second novel was called The Musala Affair. But what was its working title?

Answer: There were three answers given to this question, all of which were right, excepting Caspar’s, whose motion towards satire obstructed his passage towards truth.  The fact is, this novel went through no less than forty-one working titles. Thanks to funded research at the University of Krakow, we can now list them all:

The Hypocritical Rabbit; Over and Out; No One Nose and Ears; Brandishing and Buffetting; Apoplexia; The Goose and the Frog; The Gardener’s Dilemma; The Barn that Burns With Shame; A Right Royal Mess-up; The Old Affair; The New Affair; The Chicken Tikka Affair; The Club Sandwich Affair; The Affair that Speaks No Name; Serenade to Sunlight; Bitter Pills and Francy Frills; Oakspawn;  The Rock on Which My True Love Stands; Despair, A True Story; The Snow in Summer Falls With Grace; Monkey Kisses; You, Me and Your Cousin’s Handbag; When did you last brush your teeth?; The Gorge; The Ramp; The Strawberry Milkshake;  The Flea of Life; Unholy Traces; A Long Way Around the Block and Back; The Graves of Rochester County; Twelve and Counting; Stale Breath; As Was, Will Be: Forever; Potion for Emotion; One Mighty Grope; The Emerald Scarf; A Tale of Toupees; Sick and Silent; Things They Said Would Never Happen (and why they did); Dancing on Mice; Fourteen Ways to Fry an Antelope…

All of which were tossed away, in due course, in favour of  The Musala Affair.

All this effort, incidentally, didn’t help the book, which was Yashmilye’s worst – by a long way. If only he’d stuck with Potion for Emotion. You couldn’t go wrong with a title like that.


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