A Critic’s Case for Critics Who Are Actually Critical

The sad truth about the book world is that it doesn’t need more yes-saying novelists and certainly no more yes-saying critics. We are drowning in them. What we need more of, now that newspaper book sections are shrinking and vanishing like glaciers, are excellent and authoritative and punishing critics — perceptive enough to single out the voices that matter for legitimate praise, abusive enough to remind us that not everyone gets, or deserves, a gold star.

Dwight Garner writing for The New York Times explores the lost art of literary criticism in a world ruled by archetypes like the mean critic (think Simon Cowell) and the vapid critic (think Paula Adbul.)