Garrison Keillor, who is probably the greatest living American storyteller, reviewed the recently published autobiography of he greatest American storyteller of the 19th century. I’ve looked forward to reading Mark Twain’s autobiography, which was apparently going to be so scandalous that Twain insisted it that be embargoed for 100 years after his death. The book has received some good reviews, and it’s been sitting near the top the Powell’s best sellers list for weeks. But Keillor isn’t impressed. “Here is a powerful argument for writers’ burning their papers,” he writes in tomorrow’s NYT Sunday Book Review. And elsewhere in the review:
[Twain] speaks from the grave, he writes, so that he can speak freely — “as frank and free and unembarrassed as a love letter” — but there’s precious little frankness and freedom here and plenty of proof that Mark Twain, in the hands of academics, can be just as tedious as anybody else when he is under the burden of his own reputation.