April 8, 2008

"Pretentious, formalistic argument... preening, self-consciously literary musings ... narcissistically complains..."

"... repeatedly draws a nonsensical analogy... gross generalizations... cavalier attitude infects... adds nothing illuminating... blindly accepting... specious or skewed... ridiculous paper tigers... sweeping statements... such a weak, risible and often objectionable volume that the reader finishes it convinced that Mr. Amis should stick to writing fiction and literary criticism, as he’s thoroughly discredited himself with these essays as any sort of political or social commentator."

Snippets from a savage review that somehow makes me want to pick up the book and read it today. But then I liked "Koba the Dread," and I especially like nonfiction riffing by novelistic minds. (I'd rather read this than this.) That Martin Amis does his riffing over heavy themes like 9/11 and Stalin might piss you off, as it did the NYT reviewer. It is what it is. So read it or don't.

13 comments:

reader_iam said...

LOL.

Well done, Althouse.

Meade said...

Too many adverbs, I narcissistically complain.

Roger said...

"it is what it is..." The new catch phrase of the decade. Full of sound and fury etc.

Trevor Jackson said...

Wallace's nonfiction is a treat in comparison to his fiction, though you might give his early short stories a shake.

Bob said...

Typical savagery toward someone who wanders off the leftist reservation. Hitchens is treated similarly in reviews of his Iraq/Islamofascism writings.

Roger J. said...

Trevor Jackson: I owe you a public apology for my intemperate and nasty comments I made to you the other day. I am indeed sorry.

Trevor Jackson said...

That's cool, Roger. I appreciate that.

Smilin' Jack said...

...I especially like nonfiction riffing by novelistic minds. (I'd rather read this than this.)

Me too--though you can't take "nonfiction" too literally. Wallace's "Everything and More" is fun to read, but he frequently gets the math wrong.

ricpic said...

Mustn't criticize Uncle Joe. A real no no to the paper that gave us Walter Duranty's airbrushed version of the Ukraine famine.

blake said...

I disagree as far as "it is what it is," at least when used properly.

It's an acknowledgment of the fact that people try to make things into what they are not, to be used when one feels the pressure (external or internal) to do the same.

Ron said...

I'll put my money on Amis over the NYT review-o-tron any day of the week...

Rubhaul said...

the vituperative art strikes again

rhhardin said...

Jean Shepherd takes down C.L.Sulzberger in a NYT ad here real audio.