Praise for American Audacity:
“Giraldi is a literature-besotted Midas of prose: within its own purpose, every sentence gleams. And beyond this, whatever the shape of his subject, the soul of his subject is the strenuous daring of art. Nearly alone in his generation, he is willing to invoke Matthew Arnold, and on a single page can call forth Cesare Pavese, Conrad, Hemingway, Flannery O’Connor, Emily Dickinson!”
"A gorgeous fury of language and sensibility, Giraldi’s indispensable paean to American literature clears the head and stimulates the nerves. He reminds us that the written word, when deployed with genius, is always dangerous, and he does so in dynamic prose that sparks and swishes like a downed power line."
“In one of the essays in his American Audacity, William Giraldi describes an eminent fellow-critic as ‘thrillingly authoritative, wholly convinced, giddy with aptitude.’ I read this as an instance of inadvertent self-characterization. We have been waiting some time for an emboldened and emboldening critical voice, and here it is.”
"Giraldi's encounters with writers and critics are invariably vigorous, fresh, and enriched by a voice entirely his own, attuned to language and alive to the pulse of art. This is an exemplary gallery of critical portraits."
“In a wide-ranging and provocative collection of essays . . . novelist and memoirist Giraldi . . . examines an array of American writers, praising those who successfully marry style and substance. He draws astute portraits of notable critics, including Stanley Fish, Katie Roiphe, and James Wolcott, and novelists, including Herman Melville, Harper Lee, and Richard Ford . . . Giraldi admires Cynthia Ozick because she wields, in her critical writing, an ‘apprehension of uncommon exactitude and style’ that demonstrates how criticism can be an art form in its own right. . . . Giraldi praises James Baldwin . . . because Baldwin is ‘so smart and sane it’s impossible to read him . . . and not sense yourself growing smarter and saner by the page.’ The same can be said of Giraldi’s graceful case for the value of good writing.”