In “Seduced by Story,” the literary critic Peter Brooks argues that a “mindless valorization of storytelling” has crept into every aspect of public discourse, from politics to cookie packages, with alarming results

Jennifer Szalai in the New York Times:

Imagine taking in an orphaned baby bird, giving it food and shelter so that it could grow, and then one day it swoops down and attacks the family hamster.

Peter Brooks says he experienced something similar in December 2000, when George W. Bush, then the president-elect, presented the members of his cabinet to the American public. Brooks had spent his career arguing for the importance of narrative and storytelling; his book “Reading for the Plot” (1984) was already considered a classic of literary criticism. But hearing Bush talk mistily about how each of his appointees “has got their own story that is so unique, stories that really explain what America can and should be about,” Brooks found himself, well, losing the plot.

“It was as if a fledgling I had nourished had become a predator,” he writes in his intriguing new book, “Seduced by Story.”

More here.