Critic of the Month with Brenda Niall

June-July 2018, no. 402

Critic of the Month with Brenda Niall

June-July 2018, no. 402

Brenda NiallWhich critics most impress you?

From many possibilities in Australia and elsewhere, I choose James Wood. Given enviable space in The New Yorker and the London Review of Books, Wood doesn’t waste it. His shrewd, elegant reviews show a critic at ease with diverse talents, He knows where his writers are coming from and where they’re going. Calm, scholarly, but passionate when passion is called for.

What makes a fine critic?

Enthusiasm, eloquence, a distinctive voice, openness to the unexpected, a well-stocked mind, wit, and humour: some or all of these gifts would make the ideal reviewer.

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