By Natalie Leppard
This week, after seeing the glorious news (seriously, I think I heard angels singing) that Philip Roth declared he would no longer write novels, I got to thinking about other authors I despise with a passion.
The culprit: Mr. Philip “I can't write unless it's about my dick” Roth.
The crime: The man skipped over his naval in the gazing department and went straight to the source of all that is anything (in his not at all humble opinion). Roth's writing is absurdly phallic centered, sexist, insulting to women, and insanely arrogant.
The proof: Lest you think I cast stones without reading, I arched my eyebrow and scowled through American Pastoral and know enough of the plots of his other books to know he doesn't keep it in his pants.
The culprit: Paul “it's all about me . . . I . . . um . . . mean the, er, universal ‘author’” Auster
The crime: A writer famed for his "mastery of the postmodern trick" should be sent back to school. He supposedly idolizes DeLillo but lacks the elder statesman's subtlety, art, or ability to look past the author as god. Auster's work is ALL autobiographical, and he doth protest too much.
The proof: City of Glass, Leviathan (a sad sad sad book to read if you're at all familiar with DeLillo's Mao II)
The culprit: Jennifer “I want to play with the big boys but I don’t have the chops so I'll just copy them” Egan
The crime: I'm an equal opportunity hater and Egan drives me up the damned wall and back down again. She loudly criticized female writers for not aiming high enough to compete with the male authors winning all of the prizes but then blatantly copies the boys in her own books. Oh, and when she's not copying (and when she is copying, actually), her writing is terrible.
The proof: The Keep (horrid); A Visit from the Goon Squad (copied straight from Franzen's Freedom, multiple DeLillos, and Shteyngart's Super Sad Love Story along with a how to write a postmodern novel (chapter 1: include a non-traditional mode of communication, like a PowerPoint) manual. I’ll also note that I read and hated Keep first and then read Goon Squad out of pure spite to prove that Eagan shouldn’t have won the Pulitzer or National Book Critics awards.
The culprit: Ayn Rand
The crime: Being an idiot and causing generations of idiots to quote her books out of context and without sense.
The proof: Paul Ryan.