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A Reminder of the Importance of Good Copyediting

Here’s an awkwardly punctuated sentence from a fall catalog that recently showed up in my mailbox, describing a novel coming out later this year, the name of which has been concealed to protect the innocent:

“By turns meditative, deftly observant, and scathingly analytical, [REDACTED] reflects the literary depth and breadth of authors, such as Philip Roth and Tom Wolfe.”

Yep: If you’re going to go to all the trouble to write a book, you’ll want it to reflect the literary depth and breadth of authors, sure enough. That extra comma is doubly unfortunate in that the writer in question is not primarily known as a “traditional novelist,” but is in fact a darn good one; even the accidential implication that it’s somehow surprising this person’s work is as good as “authors” is undeserved.

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