The Lost Art of Reviewing


I couldn’t have picked a better reviewer. The Los Angeles Review of Books’ choice of Geoff Nicholson on the works of Iain Sinclair is spot on for today’s lead piece. (The only other one I might have tried is that other proper prophet of psychogeography, Will Self.)

What Nicholson knows is that you don’t tackle the maker of Lud Heat and London Orbital with a typical review approach. Sinclair’s too expansive, too encyclopedic for that. It won’t do him justice. Instead, Nicholson’s LARB piece gives us an A to Z of Sinclair, and it works just right. Do yourself a favor and check it out, my beloved friends.

(Reviewing’s not a lost art, btw: the headline’s just a reference to a terrific book by Nicholson.)

Haunted by Ghostwriting: Richard Flanagan



Truly, ghostwriting is a gift. An ability to inhabit another’s voice and speak as if it were your own.

The fact that the little word “ghost” is attached at the front doesn’t change one fact: This is real writing. Difficult writing. Just like any writing.

When it works best (as in Andre Agassi’s memoir written with the help of JR Moehringer), there are no signs of it. The text feels composed by the autobiographer/memoirist alone. When it doesn’t work so well, as in Richard Flanagan’s case (described in his new book First Person), it sounds more like a demonic possession.

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