Wednesday April 15th, 2009

The Critic Giveth, the Critic Taketh Away

Today on The Shelf, a reader recommends Disappearances by William Wiser. In 1982, Anatole Broyard had this to say about the novel in the New York Times:

[Wiser's] portrait of Paris and the Parisians is one of the best by an American since Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer. There is a scene in a horse butcher’s that might serve as a textbook illustration of Henry James’s remark that “Landscape is character.”

Unfortunately for Wiser, Broyard wasn’t reviewing Disappearances at the time:

I’ve gone into this much detail about Mr. Wiser’s previous two books because I’m embarrassed by the poverty of Ballads, Blues and Swansongs, his latest one.