Keep That Timely Literary Coverage Coming, Tanenhaus!

Daniel Mendelsohn reviews Jonathan Franzen’s The Discomfort Zone in the October 15, 2006 edition of The New York Times Book Review. It’s a fair enough review, but it’s worth pointing out that the book came out on September 5 and has already been roundly trounced by the likes of Cheryl Reed and Marjorie Kehe.

In fact, Michiko herself reviewed Franzen’s book on August 29, 2006 in the Gray Lady’s very own pages — almost seven weeks ago.

So why cover a book so late? Particularly a slim volume under 200 pages that has already been thoroughly covered by every major newspaper?

I suppose at this rate we can expect the NYTBR to cover the new Pynchon book sometime around March, Richard Powers’ The Echo Maker a little after the New Year — that is, assuming they even bother to cover these books.

Not only can we count on Sam Tanenhaus to offer disastrous literary fiction coverage (with such dependable critics as Liesl Schillinger and David Orr barely allowed to flaunt their critical acumen and Dave Itzkoff’s science fiction column appearing no more frequently than the equinox), but we can count on Tanenhaus to review obvious mainstream titles two months later. Heck of a job, Sam!

[UPDATE: An anonymous source tells me that Colson Whitehead will be reviewing Richard Powers’ The Echo Maker in the October 22, 2006 issue of the NYTBR.]


  1. Which brings me to a question I keep many times does the NYTBR have to review the same book? Why three or four reviews of the new Updike? The Franzen? Why is there
    nothing–nada–to be found about the new Atwood, a terrific book? And how much newsprint devoted to repeat reviews might go–gasp!–to a new writer?

    Okay, I’ll go back to my little corner now.

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