If you read many professional book reviews, you’ll recognize the phenomena described as “reviewese” in this article on the cliches of book reviews. While useful shorthand, things can get out of hand:
The “x meets y” construction is an invaluable way of summarising a book whose disparate elements might call for lengthier description. Another is to talk of an author’s progeny — he or she could be the bastard offspring, or bizarre lovechild, conceived in a crack house by the union of Marcel Proust and Jeanette Winterson. Yet another is the culinary image: take Tobias Smollett, stew him in his own juice, reduce, mix in some finely chopped Poe, season with Patti Smith and serve with late Henry James.
The article closes with a epic list of high-octane lit-speak phrases, steeped in scholarship, which will stay with you long after the last page is turned. [via Arts & Letters Daily]