Things as they are, the modernist poet Wallace Stevens liked to point out, become changed when played on a "blue guitar." What his metaphor meant to describe was nothing more nor less than the transforming power of the imagination.
When you write a book-length study of a living author lots of things can happen; most of them are bad.
"You've missed a nuance here, a shading there," some will point out, in the iciest language possible, while others go straight to the jugular and angrily insist that you don't know beans about their work.
Joseph Heller, who passed away Dec. 13 at the age of 76, was a wonderful exception.