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Michiko Kakutani Slobbers Over Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

You almost have to feel sorry for the New York Times. The Times got hold of an early copy of the latest Harry Potter novel, already a sign of desperation, and rolled no one less than Michiko Kakutani herself out to give Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows a sloppy kiss of a review. Forget sloppy kisses, the woman who once boasted about having to kill babies, all but slobbered over the latest and last Harry Potter installment.

J.K. Rowling’s monumental, spell-binding epic, 10 years in the making, is deeply rooted in traditional literature and Hollywood sagas — from the Greek myths to Dickens and Tolkien to Star Wars — and true to its roots, it ends not with modernist, Soprano-esque equivocation, but with good old-fashioned closure: a big screen, heart-racing, bone-chilling confrontation and an epilogue that clearly lays out people’s fates.

Seriously did Michiko Kakutani write that review sitting down or on her knees? In one sentence she’s managed to compare the mediocre scribblings of J.K. Rowling to greek myths, Dickens, Tolkien and Star Wars, itself a hodgepodge of nonsense analogies. Heart racing and bone-chilling? Harry pretends to be dead. Harry isn’t dead. Harry tricks Voldemort into blah blah blah some stuff with a wand and its proper owner. Harry lives happily ever after. Consider my heart slowly paced and my bones unchilled.

And no I didn’t read the book. But Michiko Kakutani isn’t done slopping over Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows yet.

in this volume he is clearly more Henry V than Prince Hal, more King Arthur than young Wart

Just because no pretentious review of a kid’s book would be enough without gratitious Shakespeare references.

coping with the banal frustrations of school and dating — and an epic hero, kin to everyone from the young King Arthur to Spiderman and Luke Skywalker. This same magpie talent has enabled her to create a narrative that effortlessly mixes up allusions to Homer, Milton, Shakespeare and Kafka, with silly kid jokes about vomit-flavored candies, a narrative that fuses a plethora of genres (from the boarding school novel to the detective story to the epic quest) into a story that could be Exhibit A in a Joseph Campbell survey of mythic archetypes.

Now we’ve got Spiderman and King Arthur and Luke Skywalker and Homer and Milton and Kafka, who would be wishing he had been turned into a roach out of humiliation of even being mentioned here and of course to top off the absolutely hollow and pretentious attempts to link mythology to popular works, Joseph Campbell himself. Well done, Michiko, well done. Do you even have a soul left after that recitation?

n doing so, J.K. Rowling has created a world as fully detailed as L. Frank Baum’s “Oz” or J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Middle Earth,”

Now we’ve got a returning appearance by Tolkien and one by the Wizard of Oz. I was halfway hoping Michiko Kakutani would top herself by invoking the bible or maybe Gor but somehow she restrained herself or perhaps she was restrained once the shock therapy kicked in. I don’t any writer who gets savaged by Michiko Kakutani can worry about it after this. It’s like getting criticism from Babawa Walters. She threw away whatever credibility she had with this review, not only rushing to get a review out ahead before the books were in stores but delivering something that would require as an obscenity as its proper metaphor to Harry Potter.

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