"tiresome," "eye-rollingly awful," "preening," "self-absorbed," "dolorous," "solipsistic," "narcissistic," "ridiculous," "irritating," "pretentious," "cloying," "baffling," "portentous," "insufferable," "flimsy," "not remotely funny or compelling," "claustrophobic," "totally annoying" —I kind of thought Norman Rush's Subtle Bodies was pretty good, but I guess I was wrong.
Ouch: "tedious, overstuffed;" "a lot of pompous hot air;" "pretentiously – and clumsily;" "insipid, cartoon;" "a strangely detached and lackadaisical production that sorely tries the reader's patience;" "annoying and tiresome;" "lame and unsatisfying…." Michiko Kakutani is not a fan of the new Jonathan Lethem novel.
Yes, yes, Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times decided to review Andrew O'Hagan's The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe from the perspective of the talking dog from "Family Guy." Reviewers do this occasionally. (Kakutani has previously written as Bridget Jones, and I recall Frank Bruni putting on a couple of disguises during his tenure at the Dining desk.) Rather than mock this device I think we should probably look at it as a comforting reminder of a welcome fact: Even critics occasionally tire of the sound of their own voice.
Michiko Kakutani reviews Renegade: The Making of a President, by Richard Wolffe, the MSNBC analyst who can claim the important distinction of having been in the tank and on the trail for almost as long as anyone else who covered Barack Obama's race for the White House. Wolffe claims Obama suggested that the reporter "write a Theodore White-type book" about the campaign (younger readers might want to click here); if so, it's yet another example of Obama's savvy press management.