What the book lacks is objectivity. Not only does the author note that she never asked questions she felt would be unwelcome, she is awestruck to the point of obsequiousness. It is to the book’s and the readers’ detriment that her hero worship of her often grumpy subject is so glaring.
As restless, and as sly, as the mythical Proteus, she nimbly remakes her novel at every turn — but she does so with another goal in mind. Sometimes, she seems to say, the only way to get your mind around the past is just to step ahead to a new beginning.
Through the images, three strands of story emerge: that of Graham and his family; that of Eric, his art and his tragic marriage to a Catholic; and the anxieties of Jozef...the connections between the strands are so glancing that the tales seem to interrupt rather than supplement each other...
My trouble with this book was not its failure to live up to genre conventions — any good story can get away with breaking the rules. But I was disappointed that the characters remained thin, even through plot twists and revelations that should have granted them life beyond the page.
As broad as its themes are—touching on political, philosophical and historical divisions—Weil’s first novel is rooted in family and fine storytelling; it's an engaging, highly satisfying tale blessed by sensitivity and a gifted imagination.
There’s never anything predictable about stubbornly optimistic and protective Jess and her oddball kids, or the distracted Ed and his disjointed work-family relationships. It’s exactly that quality that makes this offbeat journey so satisfying, and Moyes’s irrepressible flaws-and-all characters so memorable.
...Gould has created the kind of friendship that is not shallow, silly or a plot sideline, but private, deep and more real than almost anything else. It's enough to make your <3 sing.
...swift and satisfying, especially when read through the lens of secrets and fame and the famous writer behind it all.
There are moments of dark musicality, and Eggers’s concern with the abuse of power is resonant. But the novel is hollowed out by its main character’s mixture of apocalyptic gloom and repetitive pedantry.
A book that seems to begin as a children’s story ends in blood-soaked mayhem; the journey from one genre to another is satisfying and surprisingly fresh considering that it's set in a familiar version of gothic London among equally familiar monsters.
Plowing her way through 460,000 items of Clare’s restricted papers at the Library of Congress, a collection bigger than that of most presidents, Ms. Morris was the only author given complete access. She has also uncovered rich sources elsewhere...
The area of Midtown Manhattan around Grand Central Terminal, with its host of landmark buildings, serves as the backdrop...The tour of Midtown, both above and below ground, is alone worth the price of admission.
It's understandable that the publishers of the Zhivago Affair are stressing the CIA's covert operation; but this is mainly a book about a brilliant, complicated and ultimately, very brave writer.
Birmingham helps his own readers see how an enlightened society came to the realization that the only fitting response to a work of art like Ulysses is..."Yes."
Alan Furst’s novels have invoked glowing comparisons with Graham Greene for his idiosyncratic recreations of 1930s Europe; Midnight in Europe shows there is not the slightest diminution in his masterly command.
Rachman is well aware that what he’s created could easily fall into something twee and goofy, and while The Rise & Fall Of Great Powers is quite funny in places, there’s a darkness at its core that keeps the book grounded.
Coincidence and luck figure significantly in the final outcome, but King excels in his disturbing portrait of Brady, a genuine monster in ordinary human form who gives new meaning to the phrase “the banality of evil.”
The story of Mayor and Maribel is interrupted by soliloquies from Ms. Henríquez’s chorus of immigrants...Too often, however, they feel like unnecessary distractions from the story of the Rivera and Toro families, which by themselves encapsulate both the promises and perils of the American dream.
Face it: Wouldn’t you rather strike out on the road with John Waters than Jack Kerouac? If the answer is yes, then this book is for you, even if Waters...the ever-flamboyant auteur-(Pink Flamingos, Hairspray et al) turned-writer, takes his sweet time getting going.
With this rich trove of material her book is at times funny, warm, emotional — a sort of personal bildungsroman that powerfully evokes both the angst of early adulthood and life in literary New York in the mid-1990s.