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Lionel Shriver

I won’t read American Dirt – but not because the author has the wrong skin colour

7 February 2020

10:00 PM

7 February 2020

10:00 PM

Readers of The Spectator who keep up with the latest literary hissy fits could have predicted (perhaps with a groan) exactly what Shriver will write about this week.

Maybe it’s hard to pity Jeanine Cummins. Her third novel, American Dirt, secured a seven-figure advance, an Oprah Book Club pick and a huge publicity campaign (waste of money; last week the Guardian alone gave the book a scale of promotion that its publisher Flatiron Books could never afford, although the paper’s worthies are sure testing that maxim about no publicity being bad).

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