er surgical vivisections of bloated authors have made the New York Times lead literary critic the bitch-goddess of American letters and won her a Pulitzer to boot in 1998. Browbeating America's cultured (or merely pretentious) class with its own code is Kakutani's contribution to the spiderwebbing crack in the stereotype of English-fracturing Asians. She did it all while keeping her inner — or outer — life from being limned by either the fawning or the fuming.
Michiko Kakutani was born in New Haven, Connecticut on January 9, 1955 to Shizuo Kakutani, a notable Yale mathematician. She earned her B.A. in English literature from Yale University in 1976, then began her career as a reporter for The Washington Post. She joined Time magazine in 1977. Two years later she moved to The New York Times. In only four years she make the leap from a mere reporter to a heeded literary critic. The poise, flair and uncompromising integrity of Kakutani's books reviews have earned her the undying resentment of authors like Salman Rushdie, Norman Mailer and J. K. Rawlings. Kakutani's influence has survived two decades of grudges because her delightfully cool discernment is able to ridicule precisely those literary foibles least likely to be challenged by lesser critics.