Review Redux 9-27-09

Hindoo

Ackerly’s Hindoo Holiday as appreciated by Michael Dirda — Barnes and Noble Review, September 23, 2009

When this book about J.R. Ackerly’s Indian travels first was published
in 1932, Evelyn Waugh greeted it as “radiantly delightful.” It remains
so even in our often too-politically correct times. In fact, it’s more
correct than ever.

Nocturnes

Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall by Kazuo Ishiguro — The Los Angeles Times, September 20, 2009

A particularly interesting review by Troy Jollimore (yes, I love the
name) who has quite cottoned onto something Ishiguro-wise: “Characters
in contemporary fiction often suffer from Multiple Epiphany Disorder. Part of what makes Ishiguro so refreshing is that he leaves the
epiphanies to the reader. We emerge feeling as if we have grasped
insights that elude the characters, as if we have glimpsed the shapes
of their lives and perhaps something significant about life itself. The
characters, meanwhile, must be content with the genuine but ephemeral
solaces provided by music — and, if they are lucky, by equally
ephemeral connections with other people.”

Keynes

The Old Economist, Relevant Amid the Rubble: a review of Keynes: The Return of the Master — The New York Times, September 17, 2009.

John Maynard Keynes rides again! and well he should; this is a
timely and pertinent book reviewed here. Anyway, cutting to the chase –
my favorite Keynes anecdote (which has nothing to do with the book
under review): During WWI, the British government sent Keynes to France
on a highly sensitive mission to negotiate something economic or other
(probably loans). Whilst there he picked up some paintings, which he
brought back under the radar, so to speak. At the time Keynes had been
spending time at the Bloomsbury country headquarters, Charleston,
so it was there he returned with the paintings in tow. I recall a
Cezanne in particular, but don’t quote me. He arrived very late at
night after even the Bloomsberries had retired and left before dawn to
report to his masters in London so he left a note on the kitchen table
instructing his cohorts to “look under the hedge” where he’d hidden the
paintings.

Symmetry

Twin Powers, Susann Cokal’s review of Audrey Niffenegger’s new novel — The New York Times, September 25, 2009

“Lovers of Niffenegger’s past work should rejoice. This outing may not
be as blindly romantic as The Time Traveler’s Wife, but it is mature,
complex and convincing — a dreamy yet visceral tale of loves both
familial and erotic, a search for Self in the midst of obsession with
an Other. Her Fearful Symmetry is as atmospheric and beguiling as a
walk through Highgate [Cemetery] itself.” Woo and hoo, I say.

BloodThe Heart of Nixonian Darkness, Bill Sheehan on James Ellroy’s Blood’s a Rover — The Washington Post, September 22, 2009

“James Ellroy’s Blood’s a Rover is the final volume in a massive,
enormously complex trilogy of crime novels collectively titled ‘Underworld USA.’ The publisher describes this new book as a
“standalone sequel,” and it can, in fact, be read on its own. Still,
it’s best viewed as an integral part of a larger, organic whole that
examines, in unsparing detail, some of the most traumatic moments in
recent American history.” And, that’s good enough for me, boy howdy.

StairsLorrie Moore’s A Gate at the Stairs reviewed by Jonathan Lethem — The New York Times, August 27, 2009

“Great writers usually present us with mysteries, but the mystery
Lorrie Moore presents
consists of appearing genial, joshing and earnest
at once — unmysterious, in other words, yet still great. She’s a
discomfiting, sometimes even rageful writer, lurking in the disguise of
an endearing one.”

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5 Comments to Review Redux 9-27-09

  1. September 28, 2009 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Nice choices, Kat. I’m curious about the Ackerly, the Ishiguro looks fabulous (and I hadn’t heard of it before so, thanks). I have the Niffenegger on pre-order; even the NYer gave it a good review.

  2. Kate Burn's Gravatar Kate Burn
    September 28, 2009 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Great selections, Kat. That is a very astute clip you posted from the Jollimore review (and I love the “Multiple Epiphany Disorder”). The cover of the Ishiguro is so dreamily romantic. The fact that Her Fearful Symmetry revolves around Highgate Cemetery may be enough for me to read it.

  3. September 29, 2009 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    Ooo. A Review Roundup by Kat Warren. It’s beginning to feel a lot like home here.

  4. Kat Warren's Gravatar Kat Warren
    September 30, 2009 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Ta, y’all.

  5. April 30, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Multiple Epiphany Disorder — I love that! Thanks for sharing some thought-provoking selections; can’t wait to check them out.

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