Koba & Its Critics


[Koba the Dread has earned Amis some of the worst reviews of his career, which Independent journalist Boyd Tonkin helpfully summarized on 14 September: "By now, you can take your pick (or macheté, or cudgel): Amis is guilty of 'the narcissistic musings of a spoiled, upper-middle-class littérateur' (that's Michiko Kakutani); of 'pompous, fat-bottomed flannelling' and 'vulgar display' (Craig Brown); of 'plodding parochialism' (Nick Cohen); of 'outraged ignorance', a 'despicable and shocking' want of decorum (Orlando Figes); and (the unkindest cut of all, this, from Hitch himself) of 'self-righteousness and superficiality'. These and other reviews are listed below]:

bullet "Dreaded Questions." Kenneth Baker reviews Koba the Dread for the San Francisco Chronicle (14 July 2002).
bullet Charles Taylor of Salon.com reviews Koba the Dread (16 July 2002).
bullet "Hollow Laughter." Andrew Stuttalford of the National Review reviews Koba the Dread (16 July 2002).
bullet Gary Shteyngart of the Washington Post reviews Koba the Dread (21 July 2002).
bullet Paul Berman reviews Koba the Dread for the New York Times Book Review (28 July 2002: 7).
bullet "Stalin and the Death of a Sister." Harry Mount reviews Koba the Dread for the Telegraph (31 August 2002).
bullet "Lightness at Midnight." Christopher Hitchens's essay-long response to Koba the Dread (Atlantic, September 2002).
bullet "A Shocking Lack of Decorum." Historian Orlando Figes reviews Koba the Dread for the Telegraph (1 September 2002: 11).
bullet "Laying the myth of Stalin to rest." Amis's long-time friend, the journalist Christopher Hitchens, reviews Koba the Dread for the Independent (2 September 2002).
bullet David Aaronovitch takes issue with Amis's blanket dismissal of Communists in the (Independent, 4 September 2002).
bullet "The Need for Memory." Timothy Garton Ash considers Koba the Dread in the context of other reassessments by the Left (Guardian 5 September 2002).
bullet Observer review by Neal Ascherson (7 September 2002: 10).
bullet "His dethronement is now time-urgent." Johann Hari, writing in the Independent on Sunday (8 September 2002), claims that Koba the Dread reveals "a lacerating flaw in one of our most critically . . . acclaimed novelists. . . . he equates human worth with literary worth."
bullet Observer review by Jason Cowley (8 September 2002).
bullet "Koba the Dread." Felix Salmon, writing on "felixsalmon.com," casts a cold eye on Koba the Dread (8 September 2002).
bullet "Reading Koba the Dread" (undated; posted sometime in 2003). Martin Stewart trashes Koba--and Amis for the unfortunately named web site "MetaMute" ("Culture and Politics After the Net")--a web site designed to offend anyone with an ounce of that bourgeois value called "aesthetic sense."



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