PanThe New YorkerThe President of the United States is a deranged liar who surrounds himself with sycophants. He is also functionally illiterate and intellectually unsound. He is manifestly unfit for the job. Who knew? Everybody did.
So why has a poorly written book containing this information, padded with much tedious detail, become an overnight sensation, a runaway best-seller, and the topic of every other political column, podcast, and dinner conversation? It seems we are in bigger trouble with reality perception than we might have realized ... tone, more than the substance, is what gives the book the flavor of a peek behind the curtain, the sense of someone finally putting words to an 'open secret' ... If the comedians bring reality into sharper focus, Wolff just slaps on broad, sloppy strokes. His writing is comically bad...His logic is ridiculous ... That Fire and Fury can occupy so much of the public-conversation space degrades our sense of reality further, while creating the illusion of affirming it.
Ed. by Bandy X. Lee and Robert Jay Lifton
PositiveThe New YorkerContributors to the book entertain the possibility of applying a variety of diagnoses and descriptions to the President ... Behind the obvious political leanings of the authors lurks a conceptual problem. Definitions of mental illness are mutable; they vary from culture to culture and change with time ... Psychiatrists who contributed to The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump are moved by the sense that they have a special knowledge they need to communicate to the public. But Trump is not their patient ... None of this is secret, special knowledge — it is all known to the people who voted for him. We might ask what’s wrong with them rather than what’s wrong with him.
Vladimir Sorokin, Trans. by Jamey Gambrell
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewKnowing when to pick one’s battles is the mark of a great translator, and Gambrell is one. Her translation is as elegant, playful and layered as the original — and never appears labored.