The Wait is Over: Hatchet Job of the Year Goes to Camilla Long’s Review of ‘Aftermath’
Eight finalists were chosen for the annual ‘Hatchet Job of the Year’ Award, given to the writer who pens the “angriest, funniest, most trenchant book review of the past 12 months”. And the winner for 2013 is: Camilla Long for her (frankly brilliant) review of Rachel Cusk’s book Aftermath.
The Omnivore website set up the awards two years ago to "raise the profile of professional book critics and to promote integrity and wit in literary journalism” and awarded this year’s prize for Long’s “comprehensive shredding” of Cusk’s memoir about a bitter divorce. Long beat out Craig Brown’s “rejection” of Richard Bradford’s The Odd Couple and Zoë Heller’s massacre of Joseph Anton by Salman Rushdie. Here’s a sample of Long's review:
Cusk took 160 pages to detail the end of her marriage, and how her life fell apart "like a jigsaw dismantled into a heap of broken-edged pieces". Long, in a review for the Sunday Times, takes just over 1,000 words to pull Cusk's memoir to bits, writing the novelist off as "a brittle little dominatrix and peerless narcissist who exploits her husband and her marriage with relish", and who "describes her grief in expert, whinnying detail".
And quite right, too. Long gets a golden hatchet and a year’s supply of potted shrimp.
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