I read an interesting article in "The Walrus" today by Andre Alexis where he despaired the lack of critical book reviews in Canada. Honestly, I can't tell you the last time I've read a book, film or art review that was honestly critical (not mean, just taking the ideas apart) and not filled with anecdotes about the artist and why they are loved or not loved in general, or about the reviewers general thoughts as they looked or listened to the art at hand. However, I kept reading because he seemed to think that such a review could exist. Hmmm. He talked about the pendulum swing between a cold academic review that parses a work of art so finely it misses the pleasure that an art work can bring, and a review that really just doles out opinion alone...As you know I am trying to figure out where I sit on the continuum of art, myself, so he had me, lock, stock and barrel. Here was a line that I found to be well worth the thought, perhaps you will too.
Regarding a review by Philip Marchand where he stated that "anyone who does not appreciate the greatness of Tolstoy is "deficient in taste, period."
..."Marchand's statement is about himself, his belief in War and Peace's greatness. He offers no defence of his opinion, believing that none is required. And so, we have come to the point where the mere fact of an opinion is more important than the basis for it. This is neither criticism nor reviewing but autobiography."
I would like to read more by this Andre Alexis fellow...