Vanessa V. Friedman
March 28, 1997 at 05:00 AM EST

Smoke and Mirrors

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
John Leonard
genre
Television, Pop Culture, Essays
We gave it an A-

In this bizarre but brilliant collection of essays about television, prejudice, and merger mania, among other things, New York magazine TV critic John Leonard reveals himself as the David Helfgott of the written word. His thoughts spew onto the page, jumbled and furious. He leapfrogs from subject to subject, drawing connections and relationships hitherto unknown. It’s refreshing to hear from a pundit who doesn’t think TV is ruining the country — who, to the contrary, thinks television is ahead of its time. Still, this is not a book for Friends‘ audience but rather ex-Twin Peaks fanatics: Like that mutating, evanescent series, Smoke and Mirrors is a creation of an original mind.

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