July 27, 2017

"Kakutani was a fearsome and unpredictable gatekeeper, more so because she has been a singularly private person, almost never seen or heard from outside of her reviews."

"She is said to be close friends with Maureen Dowd and Alessandra Stanley, part of a long-standing clique of empowered and influential women at the Times.... Kakutani joins dozens of other Times employees who have opted to take voluntary buyouts as the Times implements a plan, as I wrote about earlier this week, to free up budget for some 100 additional reporters. While the buyouts, which are to be finalized today, were primarily aimed at copy editors, both writers and other editors were eligible to apply for the exit packages, too. Kakutani is the most high-profile taker to emerge so far...."

From "MICHIKO KAKUTANI, THE LEGENDARY BOOK CRITIC AND THE MOST FEARED WOMAN IN PUBLISHING, IS STEPPING DOWN FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES/Kakutani, who helped make the careers of writers from Foster Wallace to McEwan, and put fear in the hearts of Mailer and Vidal, will leave her post as one of the most formidable critics in the Times history" by Joe Pompeo (in Variety).

24 comments:

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

But sources familiar with her decision...told me that last year’s election had triggered a desire to branch out and write more essays about culture and politics in Trump’s America

Yawn

mccullough said...

The book reviews on Amazon are better.

Sebastian said...

I miss Richard Bernstein, one of the few people who used to make the NYT tolerable, back in the day.

Achilles said...

Sounds like there will be some more prime downtown real estate available for rent soon.

Bay Area Guy said...

Never was impressed by Kakutani. Can't even think of a book she influenced me to read or not read.

Here's the literary litmus test -- Did she love "50 Shades of Gray?" If so, good riddance!

Jason said...

Use the world "limn" in a sentence or GTFO.

Bill Peschel said...

She had as much influence on literary culture as Hedda Hopper had on Hollywood.

I wonder if anyone will be able to recall a single quote from her reviews a year from now. Dorothy Parker's opinions are much more memorable. (Dashiell Hammet: "As American as a sawed-off shotgun," is a favorite of mine.)

tcrosse said...

Use the world "limn" in a sentence or GTFO.

A writer named Anaïs Nimn
Was always ready to limn
The very complex
contortions of sex
In volumes both artsy and slimn.

readering said...

End of an era.

MisterBuddwing said...

Funny how conservatives rushed to embrace her when she panned Bill Clinton's autobiography.

Clyde said...

Flyover country surprisingly unaffected.

BudBrown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rcocean said...

When it comes to book reviews, thank God for the internet.

Before it, you had to rely no newspaper/magazine reviews which were complete Bullshit. They overpraised everything, unless it was the occasional odd book that was too "Conservative" or written by an author they personally disliked.

They act - and still do - like they're an arm of the book "industry".

Henry said...

She doesn't need The Times.

GRW3 said...

Sometimes the "package" net catches a fish you'd prefer to keep in the water.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Bill Peschel is correct: "I wonder if anyone will be able to recall a single quote from her reviews a year from now. Dorothy Parker's opinions are much more memorable."

After nearly 100 years, her review of "House at Pooh Corner" is still funny:

" And it is that word “hummy,” my darlings that marks the first place The House at Pooh Corner at which Tonstant Weader Fwowed up."

To my mind, Parker's critical writings are much more interesting and entertaining than her poetry or short stories.

Pauline Kael's best movies reviews were also engaging reading, even when I completely disagreed with her opinion.

I doubt anybody will be reading Kakutani for the fun of it 30 or 80 years from now.

Kathryn51 said...



I Have Misplaced My Pants said...
"But sources familiar with her decision...told me that last year’s election had triggered a desire to branch out and write more essays about culture and politics in Trump’s America"

Yawn


Sometimes I wish this blog included the ability to give a thumbs up/thumbs down reply or response. Misplaced Pants said it all (for me, at least) and there's nothing to add.

openidname said...

Meh. Kakutani lost me after she dissed "1Q84" and put me off reading it. Two or three years later, I finally read it, and I adored it.

Christopher said...

A year from now? 30 or 80 years from now? Kakutani is as boring as boring can be. I mean her writing; she may be engaging in person and I can only assume her perch at the Times was secured by social and political skills. Whatever influence she had was the result of her being a Times critic, not a great critic.

Props to tcrosse.

Mike said...

I'm disappointed Chuck isn't here to tell us how laying off employees and "buying out" contracts is a sign the Times are doing awesome and that they are in no way the "failing New York Times" that Trump claims they are. Circulation is up, UP, UP! since Trump took office.

Swede said...

Well I for one feel that I can speak for everybody in the greater Grand Rapids, Michigan, area when I say "We like to fish and hunt!".

Oh, and "who the fuck is this person and why should I care?".

Known Unknown said...

Never heard of her.

Robert Cook said...

Known Unknown said:

"Never heard of her."

And no one has ever heard of you.

Robert Cook said...

"Well I for one feel that I can speak for everybody in the greater Grand Rapids, Michigan, area when I say 'We like to fish and hunt!'"

"Oh, and 'who the fuck is this person and why should I care?'"


Thanks for warning me away from Grand Rapids!

(Actually, I flew into and out of Grand Rapids a few years ago to accompany a close friend and her boyfriend, as the boyfriend's daughter was graduating from high school in Pentwater.)