The Book Club

Note in a Minor Key

I’ll pick up your cudgel tomorrow, Robert, but I wanted to immediately clarify one point: I didn’t call them minor writers; I called these “minor works,” by which I meant to suggest that they have written non-minor works in the past. I’m familiar with some of Buruma and a fair bit of Barnes, and while I’m a bit less ecstatic than you are as to their brilliance, I agree that they are, in their respective fields, significant talents who deserve to be taken seriously. And, unless I’ve truly lost it, I thought I was defending Buruma against your criticisms. But then again, writing from 3,000 miles away, I may be imperiling my application to the Groucho Club without even knowing it.