Today’s my last Observer close. (Next week is a “dark week”, meaning we don’t publish.) One of the highlights of tomorrow’s issue is already up: Dan D’Addario’s review of Katie Roiphe’s new book:
“I am aware that there are an unusual number of people who ‘hate’ my writing, and that I have done something to attract, if not court, that hatred,” Ms. Roiphe writes in her introduction, noting that her work has a common element, namely, “[t]hemes obsessively being worked through, a worldview, sometimes actively or perversely courting the extreme.”
“Courting the extreme” is, of course, not a theme so much as a behavior; the through-line Ms. Roiphe sees is an engagement with herself as the center of the universe, her mind the source, of which all culture is merely a tributary. Necessarily, Ms. Roiphe works in extremes: what she is documenting is not culture writ large, but rather the manner in which it engages or repulses her. The book’s first essay, for instance, briefly takes on The Age of Innocence—because a friend told Ms. Roiphe that a mutual acquaintance compared her to Wharton’s tragic divorcee Ellen Olenska.
And the final cover story is by George Gurley (rumored by Messrs Wise, Cranky and Real Kaplan to be my successor at the paper) with a fantastic illustration by the legendary Drew Friedman. Look for it tomorrow.