Zoe Heller’s book reviews are skillful, gleeful demolitions, and fun to read. Hence the title of this post, which has no other connection to Heller. This artilce by Afiya Shehrbano comes close to Heller’s standard, and does so in the difficult territory of polygamy, provoked into action by Jemima Khan’s recent BBC program.
Zoe Heller is among the many who’ve had a good time demolishing Naomi Wolf’s book Vagina in the New York Review of Books (such fun it has been reading the demolitions that I’d never consider reading the book itself, which couldn’t possibly be as good as the rollicking critiques). Heller has a nice way with the demolishing phrase. I liked this characterization of Roald Dahl’s stories for adults, from Heller’s review of his authorized biography: ‘[They] … tend to focus on perverse forms of human vengeance and cruelty. At their best, they have a sinister sort of élan. More often they evince an oddly naïve idea of “sophistication,” an adolescent confusion of amorality with worldliness’.
From Sunday’s (London) Observer:
Victoria Coren explains that what draws readers to Fifty Shades of Grey is not sex, but – I’ll let her explain why – pancakes and maple syrup.
Which will not be as kinky as some had hoped, but probably taste better than stale British upper crust: Alexander Larman
reviews discards the Memoirs of former Times editor William Rees-Mogg:
“Meaningless name-dropping … Virtually everybody significant in his life he met while up at Oxford… Pooterish banality … collection of measured banalities and grandly privileged utterances.”
The review is followed by a helpful link for ordering the book.