Last night Adam Mars-Jones won the Hatchet Job of the Year award, celebrated for writing the “angriest, funniest, most trenchant book review published in a newspaper or magazine in 2011.”
Follow this link to read Mars-Jones’ scathing review of By Nightfall that earned a golden hatchet and “a year’s supply of potted shrimp.” British journalists Rachel Johnson, Suzi Feay, Sam Leith and D.J. Taylor judged the competition. At this link, you can read all the shortlisted Hatchet Job of the Year reviews.
Leith explained why they chose the review: “Mars-Jones’s review of Michael Cunningham had everything a reader could hope for in a hostile review. It was at once erudite, attentive, killingly fair-minded and viciously funny … Every one of his zingers – ‘like tin-cans tied to a tricycle;’ ‘it seems to be the prestige of the modernists he admires, rather than their stringency;’ ‘that’s not an epiphany, that’s a postcard’ – is earned by the argument it arises from. By the end of it Cunningham’s reputation is, well, prone.”