A tourist in a strange land

“Literary authors sometimes like to take holidays in the shabby Third World genres like romance, thrillers and fantasy.”

So begins Crawford Kilian’s audacious review of Cormac McCarthy’s new book, The Road, in which the acclaimed author takes a junket in to the realm of science fiction. McCarthy turns out to be “a tourist” who “can’t hold his mescal,” according to Kilian, but the book’s more serious problem would seem to transcend genres:

“McCarthy’s fatal flaw is that he can’t go for two paragraphs without reminding us that he’s a hell of a good writer, and that makes him a terrible writer.”

Every sentence of Kilian’s review in the Tyee is a gem. I don’t think I’ve read such a fine review since the era of Peter Prescott at Newsweek.

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