You all know I like horrible, mean reviews, even if by bitter and possibly alcoholic critics. In fact that might even improve the final product. Two excellent examples came to my attention this week. First, Joe Galloway has a fantastically mean obituary for Robert McNamara – and a well deserved one to boot. McNamara's disgusting 40-year quest to fabricate history and absolve himself of Vietnam couldn't end quickly enough for me.
Second, if you read one thing today, read Harry Siegel's "Extremely Cloying & Incredibly False: Why the author of Everything Is Illuminated is a fraud and a hack." A friend in the publishing industry used to send me free books, and many years ago I received a copy of Everything is Illuminated. To paraphrase Roger Ebert, I hated, hated, HATED that book. Well, the book itself I merely hated. The soccer-riot-like rush of critics fighting one another to suck his cock the hardest was what I truly hated. I can honestly say that some measurable portion of my incredible cynicism about American society is attributable to the public and critical reaction to Everything is Illuminated, and from what I have read (I dare not pick it up) his follow-up is even worse. But now that he has milked the Holocaust and 9/11 for two novels (or "novels") I suppose the world may be spared more writing from this shallow, talentless regurgitator of co-opted and affected styles until some other suitably obvious tragedy befalls us.
Unless, unbeknownst to any of us, he is currently hard at work on a novel about a sick orphaned puppy during the Holodomor. He is the literary (or "literary") equivalent of Tarantino, ham-fistedly pasting together bits and pieces of things he stole from other, better authors, with one notable difference: Tarantino made a couple of good movies amongst the insufferable ones.