Archive for the 'book reviews' Category

June 26, 2010

Dwight Garner is Trying

Dwight Garner is trying hard to avoid sexism in his review of Jessica Stern’s Denial, A Memoir of Terror. He quotes Joyce Carol Oates to demonstrate that he understands how women writers have had to fight for the right to write about violence. “Men,” Oates wrote, “don’t take women who write about [war, rape and murder] altogether seriously.”

“It is possible,” Garner magnanimously declares, “to take Ms. Stern very seriously indeed . . . and to consider ‘Denial’ a profound human document.” What is not possible for Garner, alas, is to deem Stern’s memoir “a profound literary one.”

What keeps Stern’s writing from being sufficiently literary? For one, “it lacks allusiveness and distance.” Okay. Plus it’s “hot to the touch in ways that are both memorable and disturbing.”

Hmm. Disturbing enough to inspire metaphor, but not literary. (more…)





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