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Wow. Rivka Galchen Really, Really Loved Your Novel!

The best blurbs from books' biggest fangirl

Except for maybe Gary Shteyngart, most writers don’t waste their best material on blurbs for other books. Still, this morning I glanced at the back cover of Adelle Waldman’s The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. to discover what looked like the most phoned-in blurb I’d ever read. “Wow. What a psychologically astute, and very, very witty novel,” began the endorsement from Rivka Galchen, the author of Atmospheric Disturbances and a New Yorker contributor. It improved from there—but I never quite recovered from that “Wow.”

It turns out Galchen had used it in a blurb before: “The Flamethrowers is its own category of Wow,” she wrote on Rachel Kushner’s book jacket. Maybe she wasn’t phoning it in. Maybe she could still muster a childlike joy for great new literature, in which case: Good for her! Whatever it is, it’s on ample display in Galchen’s blurbs. Here are my favorites, boiled down to their purest enthusiasms:

“[T]his book made me very sad, and also very happy,” on Scott Hutchins’ A Working Theory of Love.


“Hooray for such a talent!” on Fiona Maazel’s Woke Up Lonely.


“I love this book so much,” on Benjamin Anastas’ Too Good to Be True.


“[T]he song you want to hear again and again!” on Karen Shepard’s The Celestials.


“[B]asically the best thing I've read in a very, very long time,” on Jay Caspian Kang’s The Dead Do Not Improve.


“Somehow nearly edible” on Shane Jones’ Light Boxes.


Ben Crair is a story editor at The New Republic. Follow him at @BenCrair