Head in the lion’s mouth

Heidi Julavits talks about her 10,000-word essay, “The Snarky, Dumbed-Down World of Book Reviewing,” which appeared in The Believer‘s premiere issue in March.

In the essay, Julavits characterized Sam Sifton’s review of Marc Nesbitt’s Gigantic (in which Sifton called the book a “collection of M.F.A. thumb-suckers”) as “one of the more blatant examples of anti-intellectualism I’ve detected recently,” and accused Sifton of “espousing views that seem … fitting for a Bush cabinet member.”

Julavits claims that her critique wasn’t personal, but her avowed objectivity is doubtful given the personal history: Sifton was the best man at Julavits’ first wedding. The marriage ended badly.

(Via TMFTML, where the Observer piece has precipitated some blood spitting and a disclosure.)


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