Marty Shepard, blogging for The Permanent Press, reports that the NY Times has officially admitted to what we have long suspected. The Book Review is primarily interested in non-fiction. It exists for the purposes of information dissemination, not the promotion of literature. “The most compelling ideas tend to be in the non-fiction world,” says Managing Editor, Bill Keller. “Because we are a newspaper, we should be more skewed toward non-fiction.” Hence if the Times is to review a book it is more of a commitment to giving out product information that helps the consumer decide “what to buy at the airport.” And, Keller adds, as if he hadn’t said enough already, “Of course, some fiction needs to be done. We’ll do the new Updike, the new Roth. But there are not a lot of them, it seems to me.”
Was anyone wondering how Philip Roth was able to publish his latest appallingly bad novel, The Humbling? Well now you know. See my review in the New York Journal of Books.