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The Queen Clears Her Throat

April 11, 1993

What's going on with your book review critics? Do they all belong to some "literary illuminati"? What the hell are they trying to say? Take, as an example, two reviews (in the March 28 issue). The first, on the front page, "The Author in Hiding," by William Gass about William Gaddis. So, is William Gass REALLY William Gaddis or not?

Then, on page 2, Lawrence Chua reviews "The Queen's Throat: Opera, Homosexuality and the Mystery of Desire," about (I guess) gay men desiring to be opera divas, with the comment, "Even as you read this, gay men are busy defining themselves by imitating proud and tragic divas." Egad! Does the Pentagon know this? President Bill ("The Unclear") Clinton may require special shower times in military barracks for gay military personnel who are prone (not really an attempt at a pun) to sing "Carmen" in the shower.

There are a few Times Book Review Critics who have the "three Cs"--concise, clear, condensed: "Paperbacks," by Charles Solomon, is an example. His brief critiques at least are to the point. One doesn't need a cipher book to understand what he's saying. Hey, I don't mind some mystery in life; (I lead) walks sometimes devoted to UFO abductees and contactees, and a walk for local vampires--or at least those who believe themselves to be. I'm not opposed to some unresolved unknowns in this human world. But please.

EDSON ANDRE JOHNSON

SUNLAND

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