Reviewing the Book Critics Role
One of the best known book critics is New York Times reviewer, Yale English graduate, Michiko Kakutani. She has been at the New York Times since 1979. In his article for Slate, Ben Yagoda looks at the responsibility of book critics and finds that Kakutani’s fall short of the goals of literary criticism. Here’s a sample of Yagoda’s examination of Michiko Kakutani and her work:
“Kakutani's refusal ever to take her eyes off the thumbs up/thumbs down prize, or to lay any of her own prejudices, tastes, or tangentially relevant observations on the table, is dispiriting. One of her favorite gimmicks for ducking subjectivity is to invoke the supposed reactions of "the reader" to a book. This is a rather underhanded device with a tweedy scent of 1940s and '50s arbiters like Lionel Trilling and Clifton Fadiman‹and it's a perfect emblem of the way Kakutani muffles her own voice by hiding behind a mask.”
With thanks to Mark Schreiber for bringing Yagoda’s article to my attention.