Dwight Garner’s Inside the List column has, at long last, found a pleasantly cranky voice. Consider Garner’s most recent column, particularly the item on Washington Post reviewer Patrick Anderson. Garner’s column is the only regular part of the NYTBR in which one can discern a beating pulse from the writer (which is more than one can say for so-called “humorist” Henry Alford, whose banal DOA wit is better suited for greeting card copy). This is because Garner regularly lays his convictions on the line, with wit, irony and an impish streak that any self-respecting shit-stirrer can discern as homegrown. As Ron Hogan observed back in October, Garner’s column isn’t all that different from a litblog. And perhaps his roguish tendencies might galvanize the NYTBR‘s more austere faction (I’m looking at you, Donadio and Tanenhaus) into injecting enthusiasm for books into their work product instead of anal retentiveness.
© 2006, Edward Champion. All rights reserved.