MixedThe New York Times Book ReviewIn the happening-to-all-of-us category, Berg, a novelist, whose observations are keen and whose writing is its own pleasure, makes a curious choice. Except for a handful of Jeannes and Arts, she refers to her parents almost exclusively as \'my mother\' or \'my father.\' A hallmark of dementia is that the person knows he or she is disappearing in real time. They experience that anguish daily. Why rob these characters of their names, their identities in the world? Perhaps she needed to keep them remote, fixed at a distance, as she seems to have always experienced them.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review[Greene\'s] writing — about sudden death, family relationships, marriage, spirituality and healing — is a revelation of lightness and agility. That he managed to keep his facility for language during a period where it often disappears is a miracle. He has created a narrative of grief and acceptance that is compulsively readable and never self-indulgent ... the one character I wanted more of was Susan.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewThis novel is filled with smart insights into aging parents, female friendships, tricky family dynamics and failing marriages, while too easily lapsing into women’s magazine jargon (enough with the Sandwich Generation). And at 372 pages, it is decidedly overlong. Not only does Kate write much of Emily’s essay on Twelfth Night, but we have to read it — a chapter’s worth, complete with Mom’s not-terribly-fresh psychological insights. Pearson also assigns nicknames tiresomely — Dr. Libido of Harley Street prescribes Hormone Replacement Therapy for perimenopause, which becomes \'Perry and the Menopauses.\' And Kate’s imaginary sidekick, Roy, who aids her faulty memory, is more tedious than amusing. Mostly, though, Kate makes good company, and you can’t help rooting for her.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewIn his new memoir, Nicholas Hytner, the former artistic director of the National Theater in London, recalls the organization’s 50th-anniversary celebration in 2013 ... It is this issue of engagement, and its absence, that bedevils too many stretches of Balancing Acts: Behind the Scenes at London’s National Theatre ... Hytner abdicates his responsibilities as a reporter whenever the news is less than laudatory. He is a genius at taking himself down but is loath to cast that gimlet eye elsewhere ...good news is that in its last third, Balancing Acts loses some balance when Hytner locates his narrative nerve ... Where was this delectable creature 200 pages ago? Finally, he engages. Throughout the book, Hytner takes pains, periodically, to explain his natural reticence.