Yesterday, The New York Times published their always controversial, never comprehensive list of their picks for the 100 most “notable” books of 2012, chosen by the editors of the New York Times Book Review. We’ll save most of our quibbling for later, but we did notice one glaring omission — the space where we expected to see Salman Rushdie’s memoir, Joseph Anton, was conspicuously blank. We find ourselves wondering if they forgot. After all, when Joseph Anton was published this fall, the paper certainly thought of it as “notable” — it received the the trifecta of coverage: a full-length review by Michiko Kakutani in the daily, another review by Donna Rifkind in the Sunday Book Review, and a Q&A with the author.
Was it a space issue? Then why, we wonder, did Zadie Smith’s NW, which Kakutani mostly panned, calling it “clunky” in the first line of her review, and going on to assert that “despite her often magical prose Ms. Smith does not manage to orchestrate such elements into a satisfying or original story, largely because her depictions of Leah and Natalie remain so slapdash and judgmental,” make the cut? Certainly Rushdie’s memoir was better received by the same reviewer, who wrote ”Although this volume can be long-winded and self-important at times, it is also a harrowing, deeply felt and revealing document: an autobiographical mirror of the big, philosophical preoccupations that have animated Mr. Rushdie’s work throughout his career, from the collision of the private and the political in today’s interconnected world to the permeable boundaries between life and art, reality and the imagination.” So what gives? What about you, dear readers — does it seems strange to you? Did you notice any other strange omissions on the list? Let us know in the comments!