Slava knows that to make his stories convincing he has to get the details right, and...he provides more than enough correct details and well crafted figurative turns of phrase to convince most readers to go along with him...
Unsurprising but perfectly competent and seamlessly of a piece with her Living History (2003). And will Hillary run? The guiding metaphor of the book is the relay race, and there’s a sense that if the torch is handed to her, well….
“The Good Spy” provides a fresh and grainy view of the rise of organizations like Hezbollah, and of figures like Osama bin Laden. It allows us to meet in Ames a quiet but strong personality, a man whose fundamental decency allowed him to see both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict clearly.
Will history see Geithner as a great Treasury secretary? That is uncertain. He was certainly effective. But too much of this otherwise self-deprecating memoir is self-defence.
What’s unexpected about its impact is that the novel does not regard Europeans’ wartime experience in a new way. Instead, Mr. Doerr’s nuanced approach concentrates on the choices his characters make and on the souls that have been lost, both living and dead.
In Ms. Cheney he has a suitably conscientious biographer whose effort to take the full measure of the man is commendable. Hers is an ambitious undertaking, and her enthusiasm for her subject is everywhere apparent, though at times it leads her to move from topic to topic...
What follows is a time-shifting story of Houdini’s life and death that can’t seem to distinguish incredible fantasy from prosaic truth...to be fair, it is often hard to separate the two extremes...The Confabulist, for all its methodical sense of misdirection, doesn’t amaze.
Mr. Hoare's "The Sea Inside" embraces the dangers and mysteries of the natural world and in them finds transcendental awe. Part memoir, part travelogue and part natural history, the book takes the reader around the globe and through time.
But this is just a quibble. “Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932” is a novel of great reach and power, a portrait of an entire era. Prose’s canvas is crowded with many characters, but they’re all well-delineated. She has a miraculous gift for imagining a foggy quay or a smoky cabaret...
As Nikil Saval recounts in his sharp and absorbing history of the office, America long ago overcame this aversion and became “a nation of clerks”.
Ultimately, what Vaill seems to be mulling over in this book is the age-old question of what war does to people: whether it brings out altruism or naked self-interest. ...Like the discovery of the Mexican suitcases, Vaill's Hotel Florida adds to the cold hard facts — as well as to the enduring mystique — of the Spanish Civil War.
Few Mormons and “Gentiles” get off lightly here, and Beam makes a strong case that they shouldn’t. That may not endear the book to all readers, whatever their beliefs, but it reveals how the fight over Mormonism, one built both on its distinctive claims and its enemies’ intolerance, extends into our day.
Allende has clearly enjoyed providing rich elaborations that don't particularly advance the story . . . Each of her characters finds ’something different . . . the same may not be said of readers who enjoy Allende’s fiction.
Guha offers a full, relaxed portrait of how the “Mahatma” came to be, as he gained his voice as a writer, seeker and leader.
Northanger Abbey is frequently thought of alongside Austen’s juvenilia. Too often, this oddly literal reimagining comes off as simply juvenile.
And so the appearance of William D. Cohan's "The Price of Silence,'' in part a comprehensive examination of the case, may prompt weary sighs...And yet there are good reasons to plunge into Mr. Cohan's chronicle—not least, his meticulous research and evenhanded tone.
Ultimately, Mr. Matthiessen has chosen to frame his novel as an everyman's tale. This strategy has worked brilliantly in his previous fiction...He fails here because myth is anathema to Holocaust remembrance.
Ms Gall’s narrative would have been stronger if she had balanced what she learned from Afghan intelligence sources, who are famously hostile (if for good reason) towards Pakistan’s army, with other views.
It is a gripping story, and Mr. Goetz tells it with great verve, painting word pictures full of color and telling detail, whether about issues, controversies or personalities.
No big points made here, just strong storytelling combined with thoughtful exploration of difficult issues.