In the literary universe today, there was much ado about Michiko Kakutani’s latest review of Amy Waldman’s THE SUBMISSION, published by FSG. For years now, Kakutani has made a habit of using the word limn, which probably has not been spoken buy a human being in more than two or three hundred years, but which nevertheless appears periodically in her reviews.
Here’s an interesting image with the definition of the word LIMN (courtesy of Salon and the NYTIMES):
What are we to make of this tonguey, tasteless word. It just seems weird, as if Kakutani were sitting in front of a massive calendar in her tiny, cat-filled apartment, staring at her massive calendar, counting down the days until it was appropriate to use her favorite word again, knowing that we were out there waiting to judge her, which of course we are, waiting, praying, secretly hoping that she will limn someone or something mercilessly. Limn us! Let us be limned!!!
Okay. Maybe that’s taking things too far. What does the word limn mean, anyway? It has to do with lemmings, right? Or leprechauns? Fuck. Who knows. It sounds like “lemon,” as if you’d order your martini like this: “tangquery gin, stirred, dry, slice of limn.” Hah. Gonna try that one out tonight, with a knowing, limning look in the eye.
Whatever. Here’s the full quote from the Times in which Kakutani slips her little fave into the paragraph like a sugary pill:
“Unlike Mr. Wolfe, Ms. Waldman tends to favor sympathy over satire when it comes to limning her characters’ feelings and motivations, with the notable exception of the fictional New York Post reporter Alyssa Spier, who is portrayed in over-the-top terms as a mercenary tabloid hussy, willing to distort and sensationalize the facts in order to promote her own career.”