Prufrock's Page

Monday, August 28, 2006

Our Reviews, Their Reviews

"To write a 'review' at this length or even at 500 words is an exercise in parody; you can barely summarise the plot, let alone say anything of any significance about the book, the author, the genre." So says Nilanjana Roy in this piece on the decline of the book review in India, and as one who's been called upon to do a few of those 500-word reviews oneself, one couldn't agree more.

In Oz, meanwhile, Peter Craven -- while reviewing critic Angela Bennie's collection, Creme de la Phlegm -- wonders whether the book critic's role extends to something other than writing the Dale Peck-like Bad Review: "Is it because...every critic is at her most sparkling in the negative mode? Or is it that, as a nation, we're a bit unsure of the critic's right to say where something falls down, almost as if we feared that we wouldn't have a culture at all if we subjected it to sufficient scrutiny?"


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