RaveThe London Review of BooksVidal returns again and again to his contempt for the life of the American professional politician. He saw it up close when young. He saw it up close in the Kennedy era ... The finest and most revealing passages in Palimpsest, those which best synthesise the public and the personal, are the ones which treat of the Kennedy court. It’s a test of character whether one repudiates Camelot or not, and Vidal passes this test with all pennons flying ... This palimpsest, however much scored out and scribbled over, and however much a keening for the golden gone to dust, is nonetheless a record of the transmutation, of the base into the gold, that is the raw stuff of literature – and our slight and sardonic hope.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewAs if in recompense for this banality, Ishiguro does like to afflict his characters with something like Tourette’s syndrome ... The story that most justifies its inclusion under the book’s title is 'Cellists,' where it is only by means of a slowly developed series of 'movements' and after a long sequence of late après-midis that we are led to appreciate the world of mania and deception that can underlie, as with the world of chess, the universe inhabited by the fanatically musical ...these five too-easy pieces are neither absorbingly serious nor engagingly frivolous: a real problem with a musical set, and a disaster, if only in a minor key, when it’s a question of prose.
PositiveThe AtlanticConvention used to portray the ardent groom and the blushful but receptive bride. Edward lives up to the first billing, but Florence is a bit more than blushful; she is, to be precise, frigid and hysterical. It’s not even a matter of closing her eyes and thinking of England; the very thought of penetration alarms and repels her. At intervals, McEwan sketches the backstory of each … After an exquisitely painful exchange of words on the beach where Florence has run—both parties are depicted as relishing the saying of things that cannot possibly be unsaid—the curtain falls on the marriage, and it’s plain that the two will never be able to meet, or to speak, again.