Unfortunately, the latter parts of The Bear and the Nightingale shear away much of what I loved about its beginning and middle...These problems aside, The Bear and the Nightingale is a pleasure to spend time with. A rich and elegant debut...
The novel is far from perfect. The Butcher’s Hook is unevenly structured: what little plot there is in its first, frustratingly slow chapters is stretched too thin...For all that, however, this author remains one to watch.
The Afterlife of Stars...has trouble escaping the past. When describing the novel’s time present...it’s lively and imaginative without forsaking a real sense of being in the historical moment. When the brothers start to interrogate their family’s past, or rummage through a trunk filled with memories and mementoes, the narrative seizes up.
Mr Beer’s book makes a compelling case for placing Siberia right at the centre of 19th-century Russian—and, indeed, European—history. But for students of Soviet and even post-Soviet Russia it holds lessons, too.
It seems clear that Adiga is setting us up for a story in which one brother will rise and one will fall – but knowing this does nothing to detract from the enjoyment of the story.
Today he does not even merit a mention in the “Encyclopaedia Britannica”. This brilliantly entertaining biography argues persuasively why his memory, too, is worthy of conservation.
When it comes to these women — their pluck, persistence, insights and eventual recognition — The Glass Universe positively glows.
“Eight Flavors” is the sort of food book that even non-foodies will find fascinating. A lot of that springs from Lohman’s style; while her stories are obviously driven by her quest, her easy prose and obvious passion result in a book that is compelling no matter what your spice rack and pantry might look like.
These long taxonomies could easily be dry and exhausting, but they come alive thanks to Fortey’s vivid descriptions.
But this memoir is satisfying in a way that a Hughes film never could be, and the author's story will be achingly familiar to anyone who relied on Hollywood for a respite from reality but who came away disappointed.
Mr Harding poignantly describes the churning of emotions that many migrants (not just Somalis) experience as they are tossed and tugged between competing cultures.
What gives Friedman’s book a new twist is his belief that upheaval in 2016 is actually far more dramatic than earlier phases. That is partly because of accelerating technological change...
L’Ouverture nonetheless showed himself to be those men’s superior, philosophically, politically and militarily — a point made by C.L.R. James that survives mostly intact in Philippe Girard’s sophisticated and anti-mythological biography.
Smith’s depravity-laden history of turn-of-the-20th-century Russia hinges on his insightful readings of myth and motive, and their tragic consequences.
Though some of the later chapters seem unnecessarily protracted, the story is rich and absorbing, especially when it highlights Smith's ever-brilliant perspective on pop culture.
The Gun Room focuses minutely on one man and in doing so it tells a deep history of the many men who, having seen war, struggle to be anything but soldiers.
In this passionately argued book, Sutton claims that the level of poverty today means we may see food riots again: “We need to rethink our food systems.”
This rises far above satire or parody because what Poole actually says is largely both true and interesting. I don’t think anyone has subverted the smart-thinking genre like this before. That’s inspired rethinking.
Blood of the Dawn is a short novel, and maybe that's why it's so effective. Salazar Jiménez and translator Elizabeth Bryer make every word count, and the result is a work of concentrated intensity with no room for the reader to escape the horrors that fill just about every page.
A pleasant read with no major surprises, the novel profits from the author’s skill at illuminating the most profound (and burdensome) of human desires—to love and be loved.