RaveThe Arts Fuse[Hotta\'s] story of Shinichi Suzuki is clearly and well written, a great life story and, though her subject lived almost a century and she seems to have left out nothing important, is no longer than it needed to be ... Notwithstanding her admiration for Suzuki’s character, ideas, and methods, Hotta is clear-eyed about what she sees as an unrealism, perhaps even naivete, in his approach.
Perumal Murugan, tr. Aniruddhan Vasudevan
PositiveThe Arts FuseIt is good to be reminded now and then what a price in personal risk many artists face in the pursuit of their work, and what courage it takes to persist ... But in Pyre, caste is never explained or openly defended or deplored, and is not understood in terms of what we are accustomed to call \'race.\' Castes are never named. They have more the inevitability of the weather ... Murugan’s style is as simple and plain as the impoverished setting of Kattuppatti, as undecorated as Marayi’s goats, the food, and the huts people live in. It is almost the style of what we would call a young adult novel, and indeed the young in any language could understand and learn from it.
Mario Vargas Llosa trans. by Adrian Nathan West
RaveThe Arts FuseAs he tells the story, Vargas Llosa puts himself, and us, inside the minds of most of these characters, as Shakespeare does with the mind of Macbeth ... I have only sketched this dense though not overlong book, peopled with many other characters whose tangled actions and motivations are reported in detail. After 300-odd pages with this dismal crew, you might crave a shower ... [Vargas Llosa\'s] characterizations of great and petty monsters in Harsh Times leaves no doubt of his clear eye for the sinister temptations of power, whether of left or right. He is now a citizen of Spain who has taught at Harvard and spends time in London and Peru. Above and beyond his political outlook, Harsh Times proves that he remains at heart a master storyteller.