Private: Reviews of book reviews

Stephanie Merritt weighs in on “the art of literary criticism and the wounds it inflicts,” pointing to the fervor with which critic James Wood’s debut novel has been attacked, and to the recent Heidi Julavits and Steve Almond reviews of reviews.

Says Merritt:

Many authors nurture…fantasies of violent revenge on their critics; fortunately relatively few are galvanised to carry them out. Instead they usually hit back in kind – the pen is crueller than the silver revolver.