what was she thinking?
"Although I haven't read either The Bridges of Madison County or Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend. I answer with full confidence: . . . "
Editors sometimes need to protect writers from themselves. This appalling confession need never have seen the light of day. A more prudent editor might have taken the author to lunch, ordered a nice bottle of wine, handed Mr. Birkerts one of Waller's famously slender volumes, and insisted that he read it, then and there, so that she could conscientiously delete this incriminating evidence.
Not only did Fiona McCrae, the editor of The Gutenberg Elegies, neglect this precaution, she even let Birkerts thank her by name in his dedication.