"Morrissey is plainly the most ornery, cantankerous, entitled, whingeing, self-martyred human being who ever drew breath. And those are just his good qualities." — A.A. Gill on "Autobiography" by Morrissey.
It's that time again: The Hatchet Job of the Year Award is back. British magazine the Omnivore announced the shortlist for its 2013 Hatchet Job of the Year Award on Tuesday; Gill on Morrissey is only one of the delightful take-downs on the list.
In case it isn't obvious, the Hatchet Job of the Year Award celebrates book criticism with an edge. It was founded in 2012 to "crusade against dullness, deference and lazy thinking" and now promises to reward "the writer of the angriest, funniest, most trenchant book review of the past 12 months."
The reward? A year's supply of potted shrimp.
Because publishing schedules in Britain and the U.S. rarely align, the Hatchet Job list frequently includes reviews of books that haven't yet been published here. Similarly, literary contretemps tend to be local -- not many Americans are regularly reading the New Statesman and Times Literary Supplement.
However, Morrissey crosses all lines. His much-anticipated "Autobiography" was published in Britain just a few weeks before it appeared in America.
The complete Hatchet Job of the Year Award shortlist for 2013 appears below. For a taste of hatchetry, the Omnivore has all of these reviews posted on its own website.
Craig Brown on "Distant Intimacy: A Friendship in the Age of the Internet" by Frederic Raphael and Joseph Epstein, Mail on Sunday
Rachel Cooke on "Strictly Ann: The Autobiography" by Ann Widdecombe, Observer
Lucy Ellmann on "Worst. Person. Ever." by Douglas Coupland, Guardian
A.A. Gill on "Autobiography" by Morrissey, Sunday Times
Peter Kemp on "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt, Sunday Times
Frederic Raphael on "A Delicate Truth" by John le Carré, TLS
David Sexton on "The Luminaries" by Eleanor Catton, London Evening Standard
Hedley Twidle on "The Last Train to Zona Verde" by Paul Theroux, New Statesman