Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Best Lead of the Month

'I sometimes wonder if Adam Gopnik was put on this earth to annoy. If so, mission accomplished. Mind you, he finds himself in fine company in my illustrious literary perp walk. Francine Prose, with her pinched perceptions and humorless hauteur -- every time she brings out a new book (she is depressingly diligent), I find myself grumbling, "Her again?" I've never gotten the point of Paul Auster and his swami mystique and probably never shall, unless I move to Brooklyn and achieve phosphorescence. Walter Kirn, what a hustler. But no tactician of letters has shown a greater knack for worming his way into our hearts whether we want him there or not than Adam Gopnik, the art-world observer, former Paris correspondent for the New Yorker (out of whose dispatches was spun the bestselling Paris to the Moon), and the magazine's resident tone-poet of post-9/11 Manhattan, drizzling pixie dust across a cityscape that no longer bears the hearty flavor of "smoked mozzarella," as he notoriously described the downtown death smell. It isn't that Gopnik is ungifted or imperceptive, or a slickster trickster like his colleague Malcolm Gladwell, who markets marketing. He is avidly talented and spongily absorbent, an earnest little eager beaver whose twitchy aura of neediness makes him hard to dislike until the preciosity simply becomes too much.'

--From the incomparable Vanity Fair columnist and wordsmith James Wolcott, reviewing New Yorker staff writer Adam Gopnik's latest book in the New Republic. It helps that we agree with him about all these writers (with the lone exception of Walter Kirn, who's always worth reading, and who, ironically enough, wrote our lead of the month for February). But mostly, we love the vivid language flowing from his ever-wicked pen. We encourage you to check out his blog here. To review our earlier leads of the month, click here.


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