CRITICAL HIT AWARDS: April 2012 Brian Hurley April 6, 2012 Books, Books, Essays 5 Comments Welcome back to the Critical Hit Awards for book reviews. This is a round-up, a recommended reading list, and—why not?—a terribly prestigious and coveted prize. Nominate your favorite review of the month by tweeting it at @electriclit with the hashtag #criticalhit or cast your vote in the comments section below. Eight months into the Critical Hit Awards, we still haven’t offered a mission statement. Here goes. Books are where our fullest ideas express themselves. And book reviews are the first rejoinder in the broader conversation that books touch off. We’re here to collect and commend the best reviews—the most thought-provoking, satisfying, worthwhile—that aren’t hiding behind a paywall. We like reviews with an argument, a voice, and a point to make beyond the printed page. Someday we’ll be able to give our champs a cash prize. Until then we’ll tweet and link and applaud as loud as we can. Thanks to @msnowe, @matttanner, and @tradepaperbacks for nominating book reviews this month! Best Vertical Integration The Vanishers by Heidi Julavits Reviewed by Melissa H. Pierson in Barnes and Noble Review The startling truth of Heidi Julavits’ novels, says Melissa H. Pierson, is that “women’s inner lives are replete with destructive fury.” As if that’s not enough of an argument to take on, Pierson frames it within the debate over “women’s fiction,” turning her review into a case for female authors occupying the “penthouse” spaces of literary real estate. Best Exegesis The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus Reviewed by Zack Friedman in The New Inquiry Early reviews of The Flame Alphabet were smart and engrossing, but light on exegesis. Zach Friedman seems to have taken his time absorbing the book. He argues persuasively that the dystopian plot and pseudo-scientific experiments are an allegory for the state of creative writing and Ben Marcus’ place within it. Best Contradiction Dogma by Lars Iyer Reviewed by David Winters in The Rumpus Reviewing a book that “sets itself up to fail, then fails to do that,” David Winters makes a dizzying number of verbal and logical U-turns. But it may be worth a touch of vertigo to discover how Dogma can “show us what a ‘non-literature’ might look like.” Read a good review lately? Nominate it for a Critical Hit Award by tweeting it at @electriclit with the hashtag #criticalhit or cast your vote in the comments section below. *** —Brian Hurley is over here 5 Responses Brian Hurley April 6, 2012 Coincidentally, the authors of the first two books are married. Reply CRITICAL HIT AWARDS: April 2012 | April 6, 2012 […] I have no idea. But you can look for the answers here. […] Reply Zack Friedman April 6, 2012 Thanks for the kind words, Brian. I’ll try to keep things exegesis-heavy. Reply Pratfall into the Infinite | Why Not Burn Books? April 6, 2012 […] winner of an Electric Literature Critical Hit award, April 2012 Posted in Reviews. […] Reply Robert Weir April 7, 2012 great review by David Winters in The Rumpus… I now have an indecent need to vote for it… but where… oh yeah, read the page robWeir..: @electriclit #criticalhit David Winters in The Rumpus of Lars Iyer`s Dogma @UtterlySpurious Reply Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.