Next week is going to be Eddie Huang week (probably because of a certain memoir being published), and already the New York Times has not one, but two pieces on the man and his controversialnimity (which is a made-up word, but it works).
The first, most important article: a profile of the raconteur, photographed above taking a dump in the wrong part of the toilet at Baohaus. It’s a succinct introduction to the the man, particularly its explanation as to why he was receiving Gray Lady love after a particular blistering review of his old restaurant Xiao Ye, where Sam Sifton called it a “bummer”:
“The review was a wake-up call,” Mr. Huang said. “I realized I couldn’t play hard and work hard. So I decided to dedicate myself, but not in the way people expected. I realized it is time to do what I came here for, to speak my mind and to talk about all the things about America I’d like to change.”
The second article only contains the review of Huang’s memoir Fresh Off The Boat, printed in what just so happens to be one of the most influential book review columns in the country, written by Dwight Garner, a prominent and “highly gifted critic” beloved by his peers; so this is, you know, a cool review.
This bluster — Mr. Huang puts the crude back in crudités — is not the reason to come to his book. Beneath it, “Fresh Off the Boat” is a surprisingly sophisticated memoir about race and assimilation in America. It’s an angry book, as much James Baldwin and Jay-Z as Amy Tan. That it’s also bawdy and frequently hilarious nearly, if not entirely, seals the deal.
It’s too bad that Michiko Kakutani got stuck reviewing Al Gore’s book.
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