Is ‘New Yorker’ Critic James Wood Creating an Army of Like-minded Young Novelists?
But what will James Wood do with his power???
But what will James Wood do with his power???
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Well, we've been reading since yesterday morning, and we've got a bunch of 'em!
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Late in Larissa MacFarquhar’s profile of David Chang, the Momofuku man makes a confession: “I’m slowly realizing that I’m a highly complex individual,” he says. It’s not an insight likely to surprise readers of the piece, which will appear in The New Yorker this week. Chang comes across as brilliant, inspired, and high-strung to the point of actually giving himself shingles, a diagnosis made by a doctor after the chef literally incapacitated himself with worry and anxiety. But if you want to get a sense of how intense Chang really is, just read the passage where he reads the riot act to a group of hapless Noodle Bar cooks, who had committed offenses ranging from using tongs on the family-meal chicken (a Chang bête noire) to cutting up the fish cakes for the ramen carelessly.
When we read in The New Yorker last week of a Long Island man who claimed to have invented the everything bagel 30 years ago in Howard Beach, one line stood out: “So far, no one has contested Gussin’s claim, setting his invention apart from the radio (Marconi vs. Tesla) and calculus (Leibniz vs. Newton). ” A droll enough observation, but one we suspected wouldn't last long in a city filled with boastful, self-promoting bagel mavens. And sure enough, Serious Eats reports that marketer Seth Godin has already contested the claim. But are we really to believe that the world waited until 1977 for the invention of the everything bagel? Somebody's zayde in Warsaw is going to be getting a phone call soon. Who Really Fathered the Everything Bagel? [Serious Eats]
"Only someone very hard-hearted wouldn’t laugh" at the situations the characters find themselves in, she writes. "The way von Ziegesar implicates us in her empathic examination of youth’s callousness is the Waughish achievement of these strange, complicated books."Then, like any sharp-tongued lady of letters, she smoothes things over with her colleague, only to plunge the knife straight into her back.
The New Yorker’s “Tables for Two” reviews have generally been mordant little affairs, short on criticism and long on wry descriptions of restaurant culture. Not this week. Nick Paumgarten comes down hard on Fiamma, describing “FEMA-like” service, cold food, a martini made without vermouth, and, in general, the very picture of a major ripoff operation, subsisting on “a strong euro and the proximity of the Soho Grand hotel.” It’s a wild departure from the usual “Tables for Two” mold, and though it may or may not be reflective of Fiamma (practically all of the reviews have been very positive, including Adam Platt’s two-star job), it’s certainly a lot more fun to read. Something tells us Paumgarten had a lot of fun writing it. Tables for Two: Fiamma [NYer]