March 31, 2007

"Good War" Reviewed in New York Times Book Review!

After many months of teasing and leading us on, the New York Times Book Review has seen fit to publish a review of my book, A Good War is Hard to Find: The Art of Violence in America." (Click on the title of this post to read the review. Also, make sure to check out the link to the first two chapters of my book.) We kept hearing that there was "still a good chance" and that the editors "were waiting for it to be assigned a 'run date'" Frankly, I abandoned hope a couple months back when the Book Review ran a "War" issue, but now here it is, and on April Fool's Day, no less.

Christopher Sorrentino, author of the novels "Sound on Sound" and "Trance" (a finalist for the National Book Award) wrote the review. I'm reading "Trance" right now, and I have to say that the man can write--not that he needs my validation--just for the record.

The review is also accompanied by a very smart graphic (see above image) by Lenny Naar. Good work, Lenny.

Here's a taste of the review:

In the manner of Susan Sontag’s “Regarding the Pain of Others” and Roland Barthes’s “Camera Lucida,” the book is quiet, offbeat, at times intensely personal. Griffith claims that “the Abu Ghraib photos are the very picture of the American soul in conflict with itself,” that the reaction to them “calls attention not to a difference but a similarity in belief between author and audience.” He sees an enormous gap between the viewing of disturbing images and contemplation of the ways in which we are implicated in the acts they portray. It’s a valid observation, as we continue to fight a war whose strategic rationale, in part, is surely to allow us to continue to pay less for a gallon of gasoline than we do for a bag of Chips Ahoy.

Thanks to Soft Skull and Richard Nash and my agent Andrew Blauner for whatever voodoo spells they cast to make this happen.


JG said...

the times review was great, just because people like me wouldn't have learned about your book otherwise.

i blog about US torture/abuse, and am writing a thesis about colonial violence, and i have to say i found myself feeling a need for O'Connor's type of fiction to help me face these issues from another angle.

(her work is only now being translated now into portuguese here in portugal.)

best of luck with the book, will try to get ahold of a copy


Matt, the guy from inprint who thought I wouldn't like your book. said...

The review was incrediblly lacking for me. It discusses the book on terms of postmodernism which is essential to the book but it doesn't even touch on religion and theology. The book is good but not when you have lost or don't understand the basics of the experience and understanding that Griffith is pulling from, namely catholic theology, and more generally christianity. The New York Times I would argue forcefully denies the religious aspect of the book and misses the unique and interesting response that the book can create.

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading your book, which was assigned to me in a class I am taking called "Violence in America." I thought it was very good, especially after some of the other, more dry books we have read for the class.
I especially liked how you incorporated so much literature, pop culture, and art into your discussion of violence. As some one majoring in literature and American studies, I really enjoyed your working of the topic.
Thank you!