Critics don’t change their minds; they simply refine their opinions.
Reappraisals are everywhere this month, as new releases by Michael Chabon, Zadie Smith, Junot Díaz and Martin Amis invite us to take a fresh look at well-known authors. In the first sign that the fall books season has arrived, Michiko Kakutani was spotted performing the elaborate giveth-and-taketh routine that is typical of her species, exalting Zadie Smith’s first novel in order to more authoritatively savage the new one. Even Don DeLillo, with nothing new to release, is being reevaluated in light of the movie adaptation of his “lesser” novel Cosmopolis.
As if they sensed this change in the weather, the Critical Hit Award winners for September are all reappraisals―of a famous author, a forgotten body of work, and a centuries-old genre.
- Brian Hurley