Another take down: Luis Fernández Cifuentes on Ian Gibson. Fernández Cifuentes also reviewed some other books on Lorca in savage ways. John Kronik on Patricia Hart's book on detective fiction. Another book on Goytisolo by Genaro Pérez, reviewed harshly by Kronik. Andrew Anderson on Andrews Debicki's Poetry of Discovery is not a hatchet job, but a fair but rigorous review that ends up tending toward the negative. Before I knew either Andrews, I took heart in that review because everyone else was saying this mediocre book was great, when it clearly was not.
I have a few that I have done. A particularly inept deconstruction of Francisco Brines. A book on Lorca I found absurdly and incoherently argued. I couldn't even tell what the points being made were.
I will not do a negative book review again. I don't have any more in me. But I think the genre is a valuable one. It can be disheartening when ideas and approaches are never challenged at all, when everything is bland and uncontroversial. Kronik decided at one point not to do negative reviews any more, too, I understand completely, since I am in that position myself now. I also won't do mixed or negative promotion reviews. I will say no to them if I cannot support the person. I will still do negative prepublication reviews of articles, since I have to be honest in this process and can't tell before the reading how it will come out. I am going to try not to do negative prepublication reviews of books, if I have any way of telling before hand whether the book is going to be good again.