The Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt just wrote the dumbest piece of book criticism in the history of ever


The Stake

Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: I love love LOVE the yearly Tournament of Books at The Morning News. The March-madness conceit of pitting the best books of the year in a bracket-style tournament is brilliant. In its championship round, it has consistently steered me toward some of the best books I’ve read in recent years.

But the major weakness of the tournament is that the whole thing can be completely undone by one judge—and that is exactly what appears to have happened in today’s round of the Tournament, in which Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields judged Roxane Gay’s An Untamed State vs. Anthony Doerr’s All The Light We Cannot See. In fact, though it’s still early in the year, I’m calling it: Merritt has written the most boneheaded, tone-deaf, willfully offensive piece of book criticism that I or anyone else will read this year, in which…

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