PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewA few of the early plot turns are fairly guessable for someone who’s read a lot of thrillers (not Cate apparently), but as the story accelerates toward its finale, it veers into uncharted territory, picking up momentum and emotional power, culminating in a series of rapidly escalating revelations and dramatic reversals that are gripping and genuinely moving. While The Lost Americans begins in the heady mood of a fish-out-of-water adventure, the ending is sobering, shocking and, I suspect, all too realistic.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewThose portions of the novel devoted to Claudia’s personal life are well rendered and charming but not especially fresh. Her hypercritical immigrant mother, superambitious or stunning siblings, lovable loser/wannabe artist friends and nerdy, clever partymates and hookups are likable and all too relatable — but not exactly bigger than life. The book jolts into a higher, wilder gear when the stranger, less predictable and possibly malevolent figures arrive, especially the glamorous Becks Rittel, the \'Blonde Assassin,\' who has a gift for uttering deadpan, socially unacceptable comments, and who shares an erotic charge with Claudia that the reader can’t miss even if Claudia herself seems oblivious. Also compelling is Claudia’s inscrutable boss, Komla Atsina, a smooth-talking Ghanaian tech wizard whose suave, elegant, utterly controlled demeanor makes him equally believable as undercover hero or evil mastermind ... provides the noir tropes Claudia loves (enigmatic client, amateur detective, lots of red herrings) but with a decidedly 21st-century twist. And the central mystery is, to this reader at least, original and intriguing. The question of whether the people we encounter online are who they say they are is a genuinely troubling one ... leads us deeper and deeper into a maze with no clear exit. Except of course to delete our apps and stop searching for truth and happiness online. But we won’t ever do that. Will we?
PositiveThe New York TimesDan Fesperman charts a different, braver course, working his fiction seamlessly into the facts, writing his characters into the past and weaving his story into the warp of history’s nightmares. The result is a sharp, smart novel that hits fast and hard, its reverberations echoing after the last page is turned ... The writing is sometimes less than fresh and characters with dramatically important secrets seem to think undercover, even when the narration is deep in their minds. Are they dissembling even to themselves? Or just conveniently staying in character for the reader’s sake? ... But these quibbles matter little as the story picks up speed, and Fesperman plays to his strengths, fashioning gripping plotlines out of his deep knowledge of history and politics, setting and culture, sketching in C.I.A. operatives, Muslim extremists and F.B.I. agents with equal credibility. I was particularly taken with how he manages to shift the tone of the narrative as momentum builds.
K. Ferrari, Trans. by Adrian Nathan West
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewSubtlety is not something Ferrari has time for. He barrels through this blackly comic story the way his protagonist, Luis Machi, barrels through life: loud, crude and indifferent to the finer points of character and plot as he rushes inexorably toward doom ... Heavy on action and dark humor — fluidly rendered in West’s translation from the original Spanish — Like Flies From Afar is for those who like their noir fast, short and nasty.
A. C. Grayling
RaveLibrary JournalGrayling offers a remarkably comprehensive history of philosophy from ancient Greece to the present. He covers not only Western philosophy but Indian, Chinese, Arabic-Persian, and African philosophy as well, and his skill as an expositor is apparent. Grayling clearly explains difficult ideas, such as Hegel’s account of freedom and Bradley’s argument about relations, and is particularly strong on philosophical logic, one of his own specialties, as is evident in his discussions of Frege, Russell, Carnap, and Quine. Grayling is a master of the surprising anecdote ... He does not conceal his own favorable view of the Enlightenment and replies in a penetrating way to Horkheimer and Adorno’s famous critique in Dialectic of Enlightenment ... Comparable to Anthony Kenny’s A New History of Western Philosophy, this work will interest readers of philosophy and intellectual history. It aims at general audiences, but scholars will also find it valuable.