Giraldi’s NYT review of Ohlin’s latest works too sharp or too much?

William Giraldi reads from 'Busy Monsters'. Photo by Stanley Dankoski.

William Giraldi reads from Busy Monsters at Literary Death Match in November 2011.

Since the New York Times published William Giraldi’s review of Alix Ohlin’s novel and short story collection last weekend, many writers have criticized his review as being narcissistic and unnecessarily harsh. Some consider it an example of a reviewer who simply does not enjoy the genre of the artist’s work and who lambasts the genre without actually reviewing or acknowledging any merits of the works in question.

Two Grub Street instructors responded on the Grub Daily blog.

  • Michelle Hoover, from the viewpoint of a reviewer and also from being reviewed for her 2010 debut novel, The Quickening
  • Lisa Borders, who contends Giraldi’s own “obligation to the intelligent” misses the mark

Giraldi — whose debut novel Busy Monsters was published this past year and whose protagonist is an over-the-top writer on an outrageously strange journey to find the fiancee who broke up with him — has not, as far as we know, said anything publicly in defense of his review.

Alix Ohlin, whose novel Inside and short story collection Signs and Wonders both were published in June, tweeted these thoughts:

Updated 10pm Friday, Aug. 24:

And, oh, by the way…

Your thoughts?

If you’re an inspiring or emerging writer, what do you think about this? Was Giraldi really off base? Does this give you pause in your own writing? Or is this blown out of proportion? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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