When Janet Maslin reviewed This Bright River by Patrick Somerville recently, the novelist discovered that the critic had misread a crucial and deliberately ambiguous moment in the novel.
Somerville explained the error in an essay for Salon: “I realized that Janet Maslin, who is not only one of the most accomplished critics in the world, but who is also the person who lifted my first novel, The Cradle, out of obscurity with a rave review three years before, had made a simple reading error within the first five pages of my novel. She‘d mixed up two characters. It was really important to not mix up those characters. And she never realized it.”
That could have been the end of the whole sad story, but a New York Times editor contacted Somerville through an email to one of his fictional characters. Read the whole email chain at Salon. The lovely email exchange ended with the newspaper printing a spoiler-free correction in the review.
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