It's odd what can convince you to read a book. I'd listened to Paul Mason explaining why I should try The Wasp Factory, and he'd made a good case, but it was only when he read the blisteringly hostile reviews in the front ("filth", "should be banned", "the literary equivalent of a video nasty") that I realized I had to grab it off him and read it right away.
Paul also introduced me to the work of James Branch Cabell, of one of whose novels (The Silver Stallion) a contemporary reviewer said this:
“The malignity and malevolence of this monstrous literary sacrilege cannot be pardoned. Its banality is no excuse for its brutality. Its stupidity is no extenuation for its blasphemy. The author has in this book committed the unpardonable sin of art,– hooliganism. He may not be capable of understanding the vision of good that raises man above the level of vermin. He may not be able to feel the mystery of faith. He may not possess the power of reverence or the grace of humility. But he ought to love fellow creatures, and to respect their ideals and their dreams. He may find it amusing to hurt and wound the lowly and the simple, but he should not trample on their highest and holiest imaginings, even if he cannot soar out of his literary mire and mud.”