Paper Apologizes for John Irving Review

A month after running a negative review of John Irving's (search) new novel, The Washington Post has run a negative review of that review.

Irving's "Until I Find You," (search) an 824-page novel based partly on the author's relationship with his father, was panned in a July 10 review by Marianne Wiggins (search) as a "mass of lazy, unrefined writing."

Wiggins, herself a novelist and National Book Award finalist, also declared that "The story reads as if Irving woke from a recurring nightmare and started dictating compulsively."

Wiggins wasn't the only reviewer to dislike Irving's book, but she was likely the only one once married to author Salman Rushdie, a longtime friend of Irving's. Noting that he had a personal relationship with Wiggins, Irving complained to the Post, which requires critics to sign agreements that "any contact, friendly or otherwise, with the author of this book" should be disclosed to the paper.

In an "Editor's Note" published Sunday, the Post stated: "Had we known that Irving had dedicated one of his earlier novels ('A Son of the Circus') to Marianne Wiggins' ex-husband, Salman Rushdie, and had we known that Irving and Wiggins had socialized with each other in the past, we would not have made the assignment.

"We apologize to our readers for this misstep."

Neither Irving nor Wiggins, who was divorced from Rushdie in 1993 after a five-year marriage, immediately returned calls from The Associated Press seeking comment.