‘Times’ Review of Augusten Burroughs’ Memoir Basically Recommends James Frey’s Novel

Photo: Courtesy of St. Martin's Press

Running With Scissors author Augusten Burroughs takes a brutal hit today from Times reviewer Janet Maslin, who calls his new memoir A Wolf at the Table "determinedly unfunny, awkwardly histrionic and sometimes anything but credible." More notable than Maslin's critique of his writing — at one point she even makes fun of his use of assonance — is her suggestion that Burroughs' well may have run dry. "Prose about book tours attests that Mr. Burroughs has exhausted his vein of autobiographical nonfiction," she writes, noting that in reading the book "there is a new kind of suspense in the air. It involves Mr. Burroughs’s literary future." She ends by suggesting — we think — that maybe it's time for this well-known and controversial memoirist to try his hand at fiction: "He remains a writer with a large and loyal following, a fluent and funny storyteller whenever he actually has stories to tell. Maybe those stories needn’t be so personal. Maybe his range can expand beyond tales of dysfunction."

Sound like anyone you know? Somewhere, James Frey is thinking, Please let Janet Maslin review my novel.

Returning to the Past and Finding the Bogeyman Is Still There [NYT]

Earlier: James Frey's Courage Renewed by Norman Mailer, the Approval Matrix
Related: The Memory Addict [NYM]