|James Wood (Photo by Juliana Jiménez)|
Thirteen New Yorkers so far this year, and not one of them contains a book review I’d rate above C+. Well, maybe that’s a bit harsh. I did enjoy Claudia Roth Pierpont’s “The Island Within” (March 6, 2017), a review of Megan Marshall’s Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast, and Dan Chiasson’s “The Mania and the Muse” (March 20, 2017), a review of Kay Redfield Jamison’s Robert Lowell, Setting the River on Fire: A Study of Genius, Mania, and Character. But even those two pieces lack the kind of formalist analysis I crave, the kind of formalist analysis that, it seems, only James Wood can provide. Where is he? The last piece by him to appear in the magazine is his brilliant “Scrutiny” (December 12, 2016), a review of Helen Garner’s essay collection Everywhere I Look. That’s almost four months ago. Has he quit or been let go? I hope not. He’s irreplaceable.