Thursday, July 19, 2007

Muggle Michiko Kakutani Conjures Up An Early Review of "Deathly Hallows"

Everyone's Wild About Harry, But Real Mystery is Who Sold N.Y. Times Book Critic A Copy of "Potter" Yesterday

Notoriously picky New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani has proven herself to be an ardent fan of the "Harry Potter" series , no more so than with her thumbs-up review of 2005's "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."

So, it would have been a safe assumption that the Times would have her evaluating "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," presumably on Saturday when the book, which has an initial printing of 40 quadrillion copies, will be officially released at 12:01 a.m.

Except Kakutani had a few tricks up her sleeves. Her review of "Deathly Hallows is in today's paper, not because Scholastic wanted to do a favor for an important critic who had been kind to Harry.

Rather, she admits, a copy was purchased at a "New York City store," even though Scholastic has been pulling out all the stops, with middling success, to keep the book under wraps until Saturday.

Those pesky Muggle book-store people, always spoiling the magic for everyone else. But Kakutani was not through.

Somehow, she not only procured the book, but was able to get through its 759 pages in time to write a review, which apparently took long enough to write because it appeared in the A section rather than the earlier-to-bed arts pages.

Somewhere, Evelyn Wood must be smiling.

Or, maybe the dirty secret of book critics -- that they don't actually read every word between the covers -- just got a little filthier.
UPDATE: J.K. Rowling and her publisher are big-time P.O.'ed at Kakutani for being a Potter party-pooper. Also, the Baltimore Sun gets its paws on a copy too, through which it calls "legal and ordinary means," which The Guardian elaborates was reporter Mary Carole McCauley "getting a a copy from a relative ... who had received it prematurely."

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