Friday, January 29, 2010

Observations: Salinger and the New York Times

After yesterday's emotional entry, I'm a bit of hesitant to take on any particularly meaty topics as they all seem a little forced to me at the moment. The New York Times, wonderful creature that it is, is always willing to supply some food for thought.

Naturally the Times had to write an article on Salinger's life and passing, it's the Times after all. This paragraph caught my attention:
In 1997 Mr. Salinger agreed to let Orchises Press, a small publisher in Alexandria, Va., bring out “Hapwoth” in book form, but he backed out of the deal at the last minute. He never collected the rest of his stories or allowed any of them to be reprinted in textbooks or anthologies.
This is true. However, it ignores something. Salinger reputedly pulled production of Hampworth 16, 1924 because of all of the press' trumpeting. The most notable culprit? The New York Time's Michiko Kakutani, who ultimately concluded a pre-publication review (using a pre-existing copy of the 1965 New Yorker publication of Hapwoth) by calling the novelette:
...a sour, implausible and, sad to say, completely charmless story.
I don't have any dislike for Ms. Kakutani (!). I understand why the Times wouldn't include information like this. But gosh, it's awful funny.


  1. Haha, that is pretty hilarious.

    Though I would think that Kakutani is a woman because Michiko is an awfully feminine name. Just sayin'.

  2. You are correct! I just googled. Not everyday you get to mess up the gender of the US "leading literary critic". Whatever. The Times is terrible for book reviews.

    Good to see you found my new haunt. :D

  3. Yeah, funnily enough, I found it via your Facebook page mere hours before you announced it from your old blog. :P