Thursday, October 23, 2014

Even famous authors can get a bad review

Book reviews help our books get noticed. That's a good thing, right? Usually...

People reading reviews on Amazon understand that when a grumpy person writes a negative review, the author doesn't deserve to be attacked. We tend to dismiss reviews that insult the writer's integrity, or when the reviewer is being mean.

But, how would we feel if said review was in The New York Times Sunday Book Review, and tore into the author's work in such a highly visible way? The author I'm referring to is Joyce Carol Oates, and the review was of her story collection, Lovely, Dark, Deep.

The reviewer, who shall remain nameless here, has decided the book is "a fatally slack enterprise, a makeshift heap of first drafts, blighted by shallow emotion". Worse, he refers to offhand manipulation of trauma, and prose that feels virtually unedited.


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