“This collection of articles by David Remnick can stand as literature. . . . He treats the reader as an informed, intelligent equal.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Each piece is worth reading. From the first word of the preface to the last word of the final feature story, Reporting is captivating.”
—The Dallas-Ft. Worth Star Telegram
“A pleasure to read. The [essays] are intelligent and serious, but they're also perceptive and funny. Remnick mixes literature, politics and history and then tries to bring them all together into a meaningful whole.”
—Los Angeles Times
“The arrangement of pieces is so natural, and so symphonic, it's hard to recollect their discrete appearances: It seems as though Reporting is less an amalgamation of individual articles than it is a previously serialized volume at long last published whole.”
—The San Francisco Chronicle
As a writer, Remnick practices a classic journalistic style: concrete nouns, active verbs, graceful sentences, solid paragraphs, subtle transitions. A sly wit often punches up the prose, and he is hip in the original sense of the word, which was "knowing," not "fashionable." One measure of his accomplishment is what he avoids: jargon, prophecy, slang that instantly grows moldy, those ugly words that come out of sociology or the Beltway ("proactive," "impact" as a verb, too many others). I've been edited by Remnick and interviewed by him, and came away from each experience respecting his intelligence and professionalism. As an editor, he wants to make the writer's work better; as a writer, he treats the reader as an informed, intelligent equal.
The New York Times
Remnick's last collection of pieces (The Devil Problem) was published in 1996-two years before he became editor of the New Yorker (the magazine in which many of those essays appeared). This new collection of his essays from the New Yorker is divided into five parts, to account for Remnick's varied interests: the first focuses on politics and current events, including Katharine Graham and New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Following that are sections on writers (Philip Roth, V clav Havel), Russia (Vladimir Putin, the Romanovs), Israel/ Palestine (Benjamin Netanyahu, Hamas) and boxing (cornerman Teddy Atlas, Larry Holmes). In his introduction, Remnick describes many of his subjects as those who "tend to be elusive." It is Remnick's art to reveal subtle, truthful qualities of people such as Don DeLillo, Mike Tyson and Al Gore who are reluctant to disclose themselves. Remnick is an ideal reporter, combining erudition, curiosity, wit, an eye for the telling anecdote and empathy. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Remnick, the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and editor of The New Yorker since 1998, here collects profiles and essays he wrote for that magazine from 1997 to 2006. The 22 pieces appear in five untitled sections that could be called "Power" (e.g., Tony Blair, Katharine Graham), "Writers" (e.g., Don DeLillo, Philip Roth), "Russia" (e.g., Putin, Solzhenitsyn), "Israel" (e.g., Arafat, Sharansky, Netanyahu), and "Boxing" (e.g., Tyson, Lenox Lewis). That this book is a kind of miscellany can be seen in its Library of Congress classification under "A," the province of "general" works. The pieces are of course well researched, well written, and with well-observed details, but there's nothing particularly arresting about them. Remnick does update almost half of the pieces with new postscripts (e.g., noting Katharine Graham's death). However, as he lacks the cult of such New Yorker writers as John McPhee or an identity as one of the magazine's prose stylists (think of A.J. Liebling's coverage of the boxing scene!), demand from general library patrons may be limited. Libraries subscribing to databases such as ProQuest will have access to most of this material online. An optional purchase for academic libraries serving journalism or creative writing programs.-Michael O. Eshleman, Kings Mills, OH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
New Yorker editor Remnick (King of the World, 1998, etc.) continues a happy tradition of self-anthologizing, gathering favorite pieces from the past two decades. If there is a theme in these disparate pieces, it is to be discerned in what Remnick calls his "attempt to see someone up close, if only for a moment in time." Thus two sterling profiles of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who may have kept himself at an Olympian remove in his gated-compound exile in Vermont, both out of Frostian disdain for his neighbors and of justifiable paranoia, given the hatred the Soviet regime felt for him. Philip Roth, another Remnick subject, keeps himself similarly inaccessible in the New York countryside, mostly so he can get his writing done; by Remnick's account, the prolific Roth does little else, though "over the years, Roth has let himself be diverted at times from his work." Don DeLillo won't admit much diversion at all, unlike Vaclav Havel, who put a human face on Czechoslovakia's postcommunist government by, among other things, puttering about in the halls of the presidential palace on a motor scooter. Remnick's pieces often touch on thorny issues, as with his profile of an American-Russian couple who are shaking up the world of translation of Russian literary classics and his little study of British leader Tony Blair, who muses, just before the Iraq invasion, about getting rid of Robert Mugabe and "the Burmese lot" and concludes that such types should be removed from the stage when possible: "I don't because I can't, but when you can you should." Remnick also profiles boxers, in the closing section on the sweet science, which is seemingly a passion of Remnick's but a decided step down from thepolitical and writerly topics he's pursued thus far. Elegant, interesting, even memorable, certainly more so than most magazine writing. First printing of 40,000