I finished The Last Samurai. One of the blurbs on the back of my book compares DeWitt to Dave Eggers, Zadie Smith, and Michael Chabon, which is absurd (Janet Maslin, The New York Times.) Sometimes I wonder if book critics have actually read any books.
Actually, all of the blurbs are absurd. One is from Time, unattributed, and ends with the sentence “And in literature as in life, DeWitt understands that what we like most of all is a good yarn.” This seems to be missing the point.
I wonder if the choice of stupid blurbs was intentional. It wasn’t, I’m sure, but for this particular novel it seems weirdly appropriate to have such banalities printed on the back. I can picture DeWitt thumbing through stacks of reviews and whatnot, picking out the most dull, misguided words of praise she could find.
Yesterday I went to see I Like the Art World and the Art World Likes Me at the EFA Project Space, which includes a display of six satirical greeting cards designed by William Powhida and Jennifer Dalton (“I am so sorry for your loss of representation”) placed on a pedestal with white gloves. At first I was absolutely certain that the pedestal and gloves were part of the piece, included as an ironic gesture—after all, it’s a show largely devoted to mocking the pretensions of the art world—but then I looked at the label and the checklist and there was no mention of the pedestal and/or gloves under media on either of them, only “six note cards.” Maybe I was giving them too much credit.
On page 10 of Justin Taylor’s new novel The Gospel of Anarchy, there is a sentence that is probably perfect: “Every image was a whole world, complete, unfolding.” It’s the sort of sentence that serves to illustrate the distinction between “good writing” and exquisite craftsmanship & is almost certainly the most beautiful sentence ever written about late-90s Internet porn.