“Oh, my God, right, your book’s reviewed this week. You must be so excited!”
That’s Carrie Bradshaw’s friend Stanford Blatch. And he is, Sex and the City’s newly christened book author informs him, incorrect.
“More like terrified,” Carrie tells him. “Michiko Kakutani. She’s the Times’s book critic.” Carrie adds: “She’s brilliant, and she’s really tough.”
Brilliant and really tough is, even when refracted through Sex and the City’s kaleidoscopic caricature of New York City, an extremely apt description of Kakutani, the woman who, for 38 years, has reviewed books, toughly and brilliantly, for the city’s—and the nation’s—paper of record. On Thursday, the Pulitzer-winner announced her retirement from the Times, the latest high-profile journalist to take one of the buyouts the paper has been offering to its staffers. The Books desk at the paper will now be led by Parul Sehgal, Dwight Garner, and Jennifer Senior, with regular contributions from Janet Maslin. The group, a Times press release announced, will oversee the desk as it “expands its coverage, reaching out to new audiences while continuing to provide the high standard of authoritative literary criticism our readers have depended on for decades.”