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Wolcott Smacks Down Adam Gopnik

PUBLISHED: February 8, 2007

With due respect to Heidi Julavits and The Believer’s credo of no snarkiness, one can still profess enjoyment for the act when done well; i.e., James Wolcott’s thoroughly entertaining evisceration of Adam Gopnik’s new book Through the Children’s Gate. In a review (available in full at titled “Smugged by Reality” appearing in The New Republic, Wolcott shows little mercy:

I sometimes wonder if Adam Gopnik was put on this earth to annoy. If so, mission accomplished… . It isn’t that Gopnik is ungifted or imperceptive … [he] is avidly talented and spongily absorbent, an earnest little eager beaver whose twitchy aura of neediness makes him hard to dislike until the preciosity simply becomes too much.

I can’t do justice to Walcott’s words by attempting to summarize them here, but encourage you to read the entire review, especially if you belong to that group who have been more annoyed than not by Gopnik’s writings in The New Yorker. While a case can be made that both Gopnik and Walcott are talented writers, I wish there more of the latter than the former.

Gawker seems to also have enjoyed it.

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