This week's New Yorker contains a review of Don DeLillo's new short-story collection, The Angel Esmeralda: Nine Stories, by none other than the novelist Martin Amis. (Perhaps The New Yorker's usual fiction critic, James Wood, was licking his Jonathan Lethem–induced wounds?) Amis "loves" it. But, more provocatively, he opens his review arguing, "When we say that we love a writer’s work, we are always stretching the truth: what we really mean is that we love about half of it," and then he states some of his preferred halves: "The vast presence of Joyce relies pretty well entirely on Ulysses, with a little help from Dubliners. You could jettison Kafka’s three attempts at full-length fiction without muffling the impact of his seismic originality ... and Janeites will never admit that three of the six novels are comparative weaklings (I mean Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, and Persuasion)." This is interesting not only because it's a highbrow-fun parlor game, but because Amis is implicitly encouraging us to play it with his own work. (No novelist — or person — proposes the above without considering how it applies to him or herself.) We suspect that Amis has already divided his oeuvre into the half he loves and the half he doesn't, the half that matters and the half that doesn't, and is now pushing us to do the same. So fine, we'll play: The Rachel Papers, Money, London Fields, Experience, The Pregnant Widow, and he can keep the rest.
Trending Video on Vulture
Most Watched on Vulture
Most Viewed Stories
Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump and Kate McKinnon’s Hillary Clinton Return to SNL for One Final Debate
Every Episode of Black Mirror, Ranked From Worst to Best
SNL Spoofs the Age-Old Question: How the Hell Is This TV Drama Considered a Comedy?
Taylor Swift Performs ‘This Is What You Came For’ During Only Concert in 2016, Giving the People That for Which They Came — More or Less
Why Saturday Night Live Destroys Trump, and John Oliver Doesn’t
Taylor Swift’s Groping-Lawsuit Deposition Released: ‘I Remember Being Frantic, Distressed, Feeling Violated in a Way I Had Never Experienced Before’
The Walking Dead Season 7 Premiere: Let's Discuss Who Negan Killed
All Hail Tom Hanks’s David S. Pumpkins, the King of Halloween You Didn’t Know You Needed
Jennifer Lopez’s New NBC Show Has the Most Absurd Title Ever
Saturday Night Live Recap: Welcome Back, Tom Hanks
Latest News from VultureJohn Oliver Offers to Give Donald Trump His Emmy in Exchange for Good Behavior on Election Day
"It’s a woman, it’s gold, and its proportionate to his tiny hands."Caribou to Rush Limbaugh: 'F*ck Off, Stop Being a Bigot'
Rush Limbaugh is a big fan of Caribou, but Caribou does not feel the same way.Minions Take Over Universal Studios Japan in 2017, Will Most Likely Take Over World in 2018
They cannot be stopped.Michael Cudlitz on That Gruesome Walking Dead Season 7 Premiere
Cudlitz had some thoughts about Abraham on The Talking Dead.Masters of Sex Recap: The Warning Signs
This overstuffed episode favors quantity over quality.Steven Yeun on That 'Iconic' Moment From The Walking Dead Premiere
"It’s such an iconic moment."Louis C.K. Eulogizes Kevin Meaney and Releases Barry Crimmins' First Stand-Up Special
"It was really these two guys, Barry and Kevin, who shaped me as the comedian I am today."Insecure Recap: Beach Don't Kill My Vibe
In its third episode, Insecure pulls off a moving, lovely feat.The Walking Dead’s Glenn Is the Best Boyfriend in the Zombie Apocalypse
The biggest babe in zombieland.Divorce Recap: It's Never Mutual
For once, Robert isn't painted as a one-dimensional buffoon.
Bloody hell.Producer Effie Brown Breaks Down How Shame and Money Lead to More Diversity
"Our weapon is our voice and our bullets are our dollars."Our Biggest Questions After Westworld, Episode 4
Does Arnold really exist? Or is he Dr. Ford's long-suppressed split personality?Westworld’s Man in Black Is a Classic Bad Gamer
But how are we supposed to feel about him?Westworld Recap: I'm Here to Set You Free
Westworld is a world designed largely by and for men.Poldark Recap: Lighten Up, Francis
If I had pearls, I would have clutched them during this episode.Charlie Puth Feels ‘Extremely Ill’; Cancels Don’t Talk Tour Dates
"Resting and taking time off the road is the only way I can get better."The 70 Greatest Conspiracy Theories in Pop-Culture History
From “Paul is dead” to “Stevie Wonder isn’t blind,” with a lot of Illuminati in between.The Real Housewives of New Jersey Recap: Independent Women
Grandma Elizabeth never disappoints.Drake Announces New Project More Life, Debuts Original Music
More Life will be released in December.