4. Words about words about words about words
As book critics, our writing is a writing on writing. We respond to an author’s metaphors with countermetaphors; we criticize or praise a story by telling a story about it. My favorite work is always that which allows itself to imaginatively intermingle with its source text — to somehow match or channel or negate the energy of the text that inspired it. It can be imitative, competitive or collaborative; it can mimic or mock or scramble or counterbalance the tone of the source. It can be subtle or overt. But it will always have this doubled-over, creative quality: one memorable writer responding, in memorable writing, to another.
– Sam Anderson, in The New York Times