What Coverage of William Finnegan’s Surf Memoir Says about the Venues Reviewing It

First, that the book is not called Finnegan’s Wake is a either a tragedy or triumph depending on your perspective.

Newsday‘s review is titled:

William Finnegan’s ‘Barbarian Days’: Memoirs of a literate surfer

Don’t they mean “literary”? As it stands, Newsday’s editorial team apparently thinks most surfers can’t read.

NPR says:

Each Wave Tells A Story In ‘Barbarian Days’

Precisely the blase vanilla treatment we’ve come to love and lampoon from NPR. It’s, with all due respect, Bruce Johnston standing in for Brian Wilson. It is “Sail On, Sailor,” instead of “Surf’s Up.”

And, finally, The New York Times:

‘Barbarian Days,’ by William Finnegan, Details a Surfer’s Pilgrimage

That sounds just about right.  Doesn’t overreach, doesn’t underestimate.  It’s as safe as NPR in it’s own NYT way.  Expected, sure.   But it doesn’t try to take the narrative away from the book.  That’s what reviews, not their headlines, are for.

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