Ultimately, I think Zach will continue to be a controversial figure in Canadian criticism, if for no other reason than he holds up the dual torches of cogency and honest appraisal, which makes him a target for those who value neither. Zach’s largest critics tend to be those who not only fail to match his chops on the great Scrabble board of book reviewing, but who have a vested interest in incoherent criticism itself. Indeed, some have built entire careers around it. But for the rest of us, a book like Career Limiting Moves reminds us about the strengths – and the dangers – of standing behind one’s opinions. Of being honest. Of being clear. And of loving a good fight.
A partial snapshot of Mark Sampson's excellent review highlighting the many virtues of Zach Wells's book of selected reviews and essays, Career Limiting Moves. Among other things, Sampson focuses on Wells's essay on 2014 Trillium finalist Souvankham Thammavongsa, which he calls "a tour de force of critical writing – combining biography, close reading and interview quotation to create not only a panoramic view into Thammavongsa’s art, but to forge a work of art in his own right." Go Zach!