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Since the publication last year of Hatchet Jobs, the groves of literary criticism have echoed to the clatter of steel on wood. From heated panels at Book Expo in Chicago to contretemps at writers' watering holes in New York, voices, even fists, have been raised. Peck's bracing philippic proposes that contemporary literature is at a dead end. Novelists have forfeited a wider audience, succumbing to identity politicking and self-reflexive post-modernism. In the torrent of responses to this figuration, opinions were t so much divided as cleaved in two with, for example, Carlin Roma contending that Peck's judgements are worse than nasty - they are hysterical and Benjamin Schwarz retorting that in his meticulous attention to diction, his savage with, his exact and rollicking prose, and his disdain for pseudo-intellectual flatulence. Dale Peck is Mencken's heir. Now Hatchet Jobs, with its swinging critiques of the work of among others, Sven Birkets, David Foster Wallace, Philip Roth, Colson Whitehead, Jim Crace, Stanley Crouch, and Rick Moody, is available in paperback.
Dale Peck is the author of three widely acclaimed novels - Now It's Time to Say Goodbye, The Law of Enclosures, and Martin and John - and a memoir, What We Lost. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an O. Henry award.