Literary Beef: Epistolary Punches Thrown over A Little Life

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Hanya Yanigihara’s A Little Life has prompted anguished tears from many a reader—and now, is stoking emotional fires (and a few good burns) in a space that doesn’t often feel impassioned heat: the Letters to the Editor section at the New York Review of Books. After a scathing review by Daniel Mendelsohn, Doubleday’s executive editor Gerald Howard wrote a letter in righteous defense of the emotionally wrought novel—to which Mendelsohn replied with a scathing letter of his own: “I believe Ms. Yanigihara achieves her effects dishonestly, which is obviously what I meant.”

Zing! From our ringside Internet seats, we can’t wait for the next epistolary blow.


You can find Charley Locke's journalism on WIRED, tweets @CHARLEY_LOCKE, and drawings on her parents' fridge. You can also sometimes spot Charley imperiously making book recommendations while managing the McSweeney's Pop-Up Shops. More from this author →