It’s the “then some” throughout the novel that may irk a reader intent on a breezy read — or a salad. Yet real life is full of asides and detours, complications and random encounters. Reichl manages to make these “side dishes” essential to her story in a way that turns a romance mystery into a satisfying repast.
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.
A sharp set of stories, the author's debut, about U.S. soldiers in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and their aftermaths, with violence and gallows humor dealt out in equal measure...the 12 stories reveal a deep understanding of the tedium, chaos and bloodshed of war, as well as the emotional disorientation that comes with returning home from it.
As Helen and Isaac take their turns at the narrative mic, Mengestu cleverly toys with our perceptions...Writing with the kind of effortless ease suggestive of much painstaking struggle, Mengestu locates the novel’s horror not in war per se, but in those seemingly born to its bidding.
Mohamed...weaves in The Orchard of Lost Souls a gripping, intense tale about a little-known world and a little-known history. The characters arise out of the dust of the Somali desert landscape and capture the reader’s heart and imagination in powerful ways.
...Harris pens superb exegeses of the ideological currents coursing through this most political of cinematic eras, and in the arcs of his vividly drawn protagonists—especially Stevens, whose camera took in the liberation of Paris and the horror of Dachau—we see Hollywood abandoning sentimental make-believe to confront the starkest realities.
Fans know the formula: plenty of rousing battle scenes—Weber’s specialty—and characters that gradually, over many pages, come into focus...If you’re not already addicted to this series, don’t start here.
An eerie, dreamlike atmosphere pervades this novel of struggle and oppression. Olshan divides the novel into three parts and moves backward chronologically, so the second part is set 21 years before the first and the third, 11 years before the second.
Duty would have benefited from being shorter. Yet is an invaluable contribution to our understanding of what makes Washington tick.
Cornwell skillfully illuminates the competing cultures of the 10th Century; the conflict between Dane and Saxon is examined with sympathy and insight...
Happily Mr Shakespeare, a novelist and biographer of some note, is too good a writer to succumb to sensationalism. Instead, and after some impressive research, he builds a nuanced, sensitive portrait of this sad and glamorous member of his family, who died in 1982.
Payton keeps his prose taut so that nothing diverts the reader from the suspense of Easley and his compatriot’s struggle to stay alive. You can hardly ask for a more gripping novelistic scenario. The Aleutian landscape itself functions as the novel’s vital principle...
If this all sounds like a parlor game played by sauced tweeds at the faculty Christmas party, rest assured that it reads a bit like one, too. Mr. Lebow’s meandering narrative is sometimes difficult to follow...among descriptions of his best world, his worst world, the actual historical world and potential forks that branch off from each.
...politically savvy but militarily uneventful novel that bridges the gap between the last novel and the expected sequel.
What has long provided the authenticity that gives credibility to Clancy’s work is his hands-on knowledge of modern weapons and the men and women who use them...Mark Greaney, his co-author on “Command Authority,” continued Clancy’s self-education in battle realities.
This is history drained not just of its interesting bits but of its very import, and at such times Wilford seems less an inartful storyteller than a kind of lecture-hall sadist.
It’s not just that Mr. Shavit lays out the story of Israel’s founding with clarity and precision. This is a story we’ve read before...It’s that he so deliberately scrutinizes the denial he locates at the heart of Israeli consciousness.
Sacco’s illustration — exacting in every damning detail, magnificent in its tragic way — is both indictment and tribute enough.
As compelling as a car wreck, it’s impossible to look away, even though the catalogue of misery sometimes threatens to overwhelm.
Though MacMillan tries to steer a neutral course, it is clear in this important work where her sentiments lie. It won’t be the final word in this debate though.