What is The New Yorker? I know it’s a great magazine and that it’s a tremendous source of pleasure in my life. But what exactly is it? This blog’s premise is that The New Yorker is a work of art, as worthy of comment and analysis as, say, Keats’s “Ode on a Grecian Urn.” Each week I review one or more aspects of the magazine’s latest issue. I suppose it’s possible to describe and analyze an entire issue, but I prefer to keep my reviews brief, and so I usually focus on just one or two pieces, to explore in each the signature style of its author. A piece by Matthew Trammell is not like a piece by James Wood, and neither is like a piece by Peter Schjeldahl. One could not mistake Finnegan for Frazier, or Lepore for Paumgarten, or Goodyear for Khatchadourian. Each has found a style, and it is that style that I respond to as I read, and want to understand and describe.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Inexplicable Omission of Ian Frazier’s “Hogs Wild” from The New York Times’ “100 Notable Books of 2016”

I see the editors of The New York Times Book Review have selected their “100 Notable Books of 2016.” It’s a fine list, except for one whopping flaw – the inexplicable omission of Ian Frazier’s brilliant collection of New Yorker reporting pieces, Hogs Wild. Frazier is one of the all-time great literary journalists – in a class with A. J. Liebling, Joseph Mitchell, and John McPhee. Hogs Wild is his richest collection. It should not only be in the Top 100; it should be in the Top 10. The Times’ failure to include it on its list is baffling.

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