Re: RARA-AVIS: Re; Critics again

Etienne Borgers (
Sun, 4 Apr 1999 22:33:01 -0700 (PDT) To be a critic of *new* books is a hard job, and I
should say to be critic of new popular literature is
even harder, as you are practically forbidden to be
too literary in your judgment, or to be too
intellectual in your justifications! Unless you
operate in specialist intellectual mags or lit

Everybody can be mistaken or lured by superficial
talents. And good writers merit recognition, even if
they are not the top of the category...
Everybody agrees on that.

However what makes me personally frightened is when
critics with vast audiences and top reputation put
down some prime writers or innovative books.
It does not happen everyday of course, but think
about: how many times per decade do real writers
I should also add that confirmed writers are
probably better to spot a lack of professionalism in
some books, but that *globally* they are not better
critics than other specialists of a genre.

And think about the pitiful results other
professionals achieve in the selection made by
"reading committees", or reading panels, acting for
the mainstream publishers!!!
With the baffling consequence that "best sellers" are
now a way of living... for these last.

Critics have to take some risks and should push what
they feel valuable, even if not in tune with the
"flavor of the week" or the sacrosanct NY Times best
seller list. Therefore they should be allowed an
error margin. But not with top emerging writers, and
even more so how bigger is their (the critics)
IMO it cancels their credibility.

As for A.Boucher, I recently read he put down a lot
of good HB/Noir writers during his imperial career
(?); having not read his articles I will refrain to

I do not want to be negative, but in a certain way
critics have the privilege of choice and they should
try to compensate somewhat for the lacks of the
publishing world. They cannot escape their
responsibility under the name of commercialism.
The rest of the responsibility is on the reading
Utopist? I don't think so.

Hard-Boiled Mysteries

---pabergin <> wrote:
> Bax opines:
> <<I personally see nothing
> wrong with mystery writers reviewing mysteries.>>
> Nor do I. One of the best crime fiction reviewers
ever was Charles
> Williford, writing in the Miami Herald. And of
course Anthony Boucher, who
> is far better known for his criticism than for his
fiction work.
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