"In this savage Trumpian era of ours, there are times when the knives must come out. Every modern dystopia needs a Purge: one day of the year when the inmates can take over the asylum and the streets can be slickened with the blood, or in this case the ink, of the sacrificed so that the rest of us may move more smoothly through the world. It’s not pleasant, but then neither is late-stage capitalism."Literary Hub looks back on fifteen of 2017’s most scathing reviews.
Women Who Work by Ivanka Trump
“It’s a sign of how perilous and debased American life has become that people are putting faith in Ivanka Trump, creator of a line of mediocre synthetic workwear, to head off fascism … Ivanka makes [Sheryl] Sandberg look like Rosa Luxemburg … As vapid as Women Who Work is—and it is really vapid—there is a subtle political current running through it, one that helps explain how the socially liberal Ivanka can work for her misogynist ogre of a father. Beneath the inspirational quotes from Oprah and the Dalai Lama and the you-go-girl cheerleading, the message of Women Who Work is that people get what they deserve … Her refusal to acknowledge any contradiction between her feminism, however superficial it is, and her father’s reactionary politics almost feels like gaslighting.”
–Michelle Goldberg (Slate)
Uncommon Type by Tom HanksMore burns here
“It’s true that the bulk of these seventeen—seventeen!—stories sound like Tom Hanks movies. Or rather, they are stories that could have been written by an alien whose only exposure to the planet earth is through Tom Hanks movies … This book-shaped object made of cardboard and paper was never going to be a book exactly. It is a gift, something that parents give to their college-bound children as revenge for making themselves difficult to understand … in four hundred pages, there’s hardly even a hint of conflict or a suggestion that American life is anything less than a holiday where everyone rides Schwinn bikes, leaves the immigration office to go bowling, and has a dog named Biscuit. If there’s anything good to observe about Uncommon Type, it’s that Hanks may have accidently revived a long-lost literary form: the idyll, as practiced by Goethe, placid and innocuous pastorals that invoke ornate symbolism … The impregnable constellation we call ‘Tom Hanks,’ with its observations on what life is like a box of, can give no real offense, can do us no lasting harm. But Uncommon Type is pushing it, man, a collection of clichés that only deserves clichés in return.”
–J. W. McCormack (The Baffler)