Denby reviewed

After Chris Lehmann so cogently eviscerated David Denby’s American Sucker last month, I wouldn’t have thought there’d be anything else to say about the book. Whaddaya know, though? There is, and it’s hilarious:

American Sucker is a book that inspires sorrow, pity, and ultimately anger, but mostly for the reader who has to endure it. Dilatory, repetitive, and endlessly self-reflective (Denby cannot pass a street corner in New York without recalling how, six months earlier, he was on the same street corner, no doubt remembering an even earlier visitation at that identical location), the memoir meanders through the author’s divorce and what could charitably be called a midlife crisis. Denby wanders from tech conference to tech conference, willfully blinding himself to the glaring signs of impending market doom, and while he certainly wasn’t alone in this regard, it doesn’t speak well for Columbia University that an individual who passed through its marble halls twice could be so infuriatingly stupid. He searches for philosophical certainty and understanding, but ends up offering bootless profundities that are hard enough to read, let alone understand. (“Time, properly speaking, has no volume, no body; it has no speed.”) Inspired by the long-dreaded loss of his home—tragically, he was forced to move from a large Upper West Side apartment to a somewhat smaller one a few blocks away—Denby ventures into a bizarre extended metaphor concerning casual china (“When a teacup cracks, one thinks of death”), at which point the reader wishes this guy would just buy a red sports car and get over it already.

(Thanks to A for the link.)


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