Monday, June 12, 2006


This is to whet your appetites, oh reviewers! The following examples are taken from Pushcart's Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections, ed. by Bill Henderson and Andre Bernard, Pushcart Press, New York, 1998.

On the Road, by Jack Kerouac, reviewed by the Chicago Tribune:
He can slip from magniolquent hysteria into sentimental bathos, and at his worst he merely slobbers words...a writer to watch, but if this watching ist o be rewarded, he must begin to watch himself.

Midnight was my Cry, By Carlyn Kizer, reviewed by Esquire
Like most poets, she teaches, and like most teachers, she isn't very good.
(I thought you'd like that, Gibah, Amber...)

Toys in the Attic, by Lillian Hellman reviewed by Richard Findlater, Time and Tide
It is curious how incest, impotence, nymphomania, religious mania and real estate speculation can be so dull.
Shakespeare's Dog by Leon Rooke, reviewed by Books in Canada
Anyone interested in conventional novels with character and plot will want to let the neigbour's mongrel chew on Shakespeare's Dog.

The Magnificent Spinster by May Sarton, reviewed by Out
The experience of the book, personally speaking, wsa like a long hike home in wet socks adn gym shoes, uncomfortable and unnecessary.

Anthony Burgess on reviewers:
...reviewers do not read books with much care...their profession is more given to stupidity and malice and literary ignorance even that the profession of novelist.

But let Brendan Behan have the last word:
Critics are like eunuchs in a harem. They're there every night, they see it done eveyr night, they see how it should be done every night, but they can't do it themselves.


Gregory Brett Hardy said...

Haha, and that is meant to instil us with some confidence?

Cattyrox said...

but of course, Greg!