Sunday, January 08, 2006


John Simon could go too far. Today's Times, in reviewing a new book of his, has him writing about Liza Minelli ... "the nose always en route to becoming a trunk, blubber lips unable to resist the draw of gravity, and a chin trying its damndest to withdraw into the neck...."

A few months ago, another Times critic, Joe Queenan, went too far in calling the author of a book a "jackass." (The book was an amusing account of the author's reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. The editor of the Times Book Review did NOT apologize but defended the review -- a review, obviously, reeking of envy.)

Carson McCullers once told me that she had cried after reading a hostile review of one of her novels--by Times critic Charles Poore. She called attention to his name.

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