“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” a New York Times Notable Book of the Year


Nov 25, 2007

Posted by SueTLC

The New York Times has now released their annual compilation of the 100 Notable Books of the Year, and this list includes Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The December 2 print edition of the Sunday Book Review will include the entire list, however you can access this list on the Times website today, as well as a link to the previously released review of “Deathly Hallows” by noted (and sometimes quite controversial) author Christopher Hitchens. If you missed his review earlier, you can access it via this link, where he writes of the final installment in the Harry Potter novel by J.K. Rowling as follows:

“For some time now the novels have been attempting a kind of secular dramatization of the battle between good and evil. The Ministry of Magic (one of Rowling’s better inventions) has been seeking to impose a version of the Nuremberg Laws on England, classifying its subjects according to blood and maintaining its own Gestapo as well as its own Azkaban gulag. But again, over time and over many, many pages this scenario fails to chill: most of the “muggle” population goes about its ordinary existence, and every time the secret police close in, our heroes are able to “disapparate” ” a term that always makes me think of an attempt at English by George W. Bush. The prejudice against bank-monopoly goblins is modeled more or less on anti-Semitism and the foul treatment of elves is meant to put us in mind of slavery, but the overall effect of this is somewhat thin and derivative, and subject to diminishing returns.

“In this final volume there is a good deal of loose-end gathering to be done. Which side was Snape really on? Can Neville Longbottom rise above himself? Are the Malfoys as black as they have been painted? Unfortunately ” and with the solid exception of Neville, whose gallantry is well evoked ” these resolutions prove to possess all the excitement of an old-style Perry Mason-type summing-up, prompted by a stock character who says, “There’s just one thing I don’t understand. …” Most of all this is true of Voldemort himself, who becomes more tiresome than an Ian Fleming villain, or the vicious but verbose Nicolae Carpathia in the Left Behind series, as he offers boastful explanations that are at once grandiose and vacuous.”

The newspaper will announce their ten best books of the year later this week.

17 Responses to “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” a New York Times Notable Book of the Year

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OMG what a surprise!

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is anyone surprised? Well done anyway!


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Yes, a “notable book of the year” since it can’t be a New York Times bestseller… well, good for the Times to put Deathly Hallows on the best list they could!

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Good for the list. It is well deserved.

As for the critic, I cannot help myself but to think that he regarded that book as a book for adults and not as a book for a younger readership.

Yes, his critic is true, but, for a younger generation, it does not matter. I, as well, was slightly deceived by the seventh book. That being said, I give a gold medal for the entire series of seven books. For six books, I forgot I was over sixty and enjoyed every moment of it. I read and reread the six books attempting to guess the outcome. So what? The seventh book let me down a little. Such is life.

If I were much younger, I would be perfectly satisfied of the seven books. All is well that ends well.

And Yes! I greatly encourage JK to do a thriller for adults. I believe she can do just as well as P D James. Go for it Jo! You have got the knack.

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Reading this guy’s commentary on the final book tells me several things about him.

1. He is an unadulterated muggle – completely wrapped up in the physical world, no imagination whatsoever. His dearest wish is to box up the entire wizarding world in a neat, dismissive comparison to historical muggle events.

2. He hasn’t read the series from start to finish. If he has – then, sadly, he just didn’t “get it”.

3. People who give out “awards” while simultaneously bashing the person being awarded, (or doling out backward, non-compliments) are odious, and should eat slugs.

This critic’s consummate misunderstanding is really summed up by his comment that the Ministry of Magic was one of JKR’s “better inventions”. Sure – Buckbeak, the time turner, polyjuice potion, the tri-wizard tournament, and Diagon Alley were all just so much kerfuffle.

Muggles! (sigh)

- M

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woooow…haha talk about closed-minded.

what side was Snape on? Come-ON!

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That critic is a pretentious idiot.

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“That critic is a pretentious idiot.”

I like that better.

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What an unintentionally funny review! He is reviewing this as like a comparison between Scooby Doo and Lord of the Rings. The fact is he cant swim so he can only review the ripples on the sea and not the beautiful tropical world underneath. Well that’s my critical review of his review ;)

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Professor Potter, I love that bit of imagery. This guy seems very much misguided in his analysis of the series. Literature is for entertainment and enjoyment. It is not meant to be quantified, picked apart, and battered. Our society, and people like this Chris Hitchens, are too literal for their own good. He has successfully set aside his imagination and sense of creativity to speak of this wonderful series as though is were a textbook or something. He is, in a word, vapid.


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He makes some good points though. the fact that he doesn’t love book 7 doesn’t make him pretentious, vapid or an idiot. (Well, he’s Christopher Hitchens, so yes he is pretentious! But he’s not an idiot just because you disagree with him). I agree that the “summing up” at the end of the book was tedious, with too many overlong explanations by Dumbledore, Voldemort and Harry himself. Sure this happened in other books, but it was definitely most noticeable in 7, because there was the most to explain. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that opinion. You might not agree with his review but actually, his is giving the Harry Potter books a compliment by reviewing them critically and thoughtfully, as adult books, giving them his honest opinion even if his opinion might be misguided in parts.

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Ugh, the New York Times. For banishing JKR to the “children’s” bestseller list, I will never forgive them. :/

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Hear, hear, Marcheline! Hit the nail right on the head! However, one can console oneself with the Kudos (?*) offered by the “critique”. JK has done a bang-up job with the HP Series! Well done, indeed.

Again, I agree, however:


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Sorry about that. Computer got weird….


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I think Hitchens is one of the “shock jocks” in political commentary – always controversial but only occasionally enlightening. I’m not a big fan. But his comment about the word “disapparate” and Bush’s language skills is priceless. LOL!

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” “disapparate” — a term that always makes me think of an attempt at English by George W. Bush.”

I’ll never read that word again without laughing.

Avatar Imagekyrstalkris says: Whoo! My second favorite book on top! =]

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