Books & Review
Updated: Feb 13, 2013 07:15 AM EST

Hatchet Job of the Year Award

Hatchet Job of the Year Award: Book Critics Gear Up After Nominees Are Announced
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Camilla Long took home this year's "Hatchet Job of the Year Award" for her review of Rachel Cusk's memoir of her divorce, "Aftermath"

Camilla Long's review of Rachel Cusk's memoir of her divorce, "Aftermath" won her this year's "Hatchet Job of the Year Award."

The "Hatchet Job of the Year Award" is given to a critic that writes "the angriest, funniest, most trenchant book review of the past 12 months" with the intention to "promote integrity and wit in literary journalism."

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Long's review called Cusk  "a brittle little dominatrix and peerless narcissist who exploits her husband and her marriage with relish", and who "describes her grief in expert, whinnying detail."

Other contenders for the award this year included Zoë Heller for his attack on Salman Rushdie's "Joseph Anton", Ron Charles for his review of Amis's "Lionel Asbo" in the Washington Post, Craig Brown for his write-up in the Mail on Sunday on Richard Bradford's "The Odd Couple", Richard Evans's article on A.N. Wilson's "Hitler" and Allan Massie's demolition of Craig Raine's "The Divine Comedy".

Judges Lynn Barber, John Walsh and Francis Wheen chose Long's piece of criticism over the others.

"I thought what was wonderful about Camilla's review was that it totally hatcheted the book, but in such an intriguing way that I then thought I must read Aftermath - and did, and loved it because it was just as weird as Camilla said," Barber revealed. "So a hatchet job isn't necessarily a turnoff."

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