RaveVulture... a deeply, intoxicatingly romantic novel interrupted by occasional scenes of Benny Hill farce ... Peaces is elliptical and strange and funny, and despite its Wes Anderson–like setting, it’s a very bleak little cautionary tale. It proposes that failing to grasp someone’s essential self is pernicious and contagious, that we mistake outlines and portraits for bodies and souls. This train story becomes a comedy of manners built around the gravest possible breach of etiquette: refusing, literally, to see someone.
PositiveVultureIshiguro has written an exquisite book. At its best, it contains a loveliness that’s first poignant and then, on a second reading, sharp and driving as a needle ... His protagonists exist but don’t grow up; they are noticers but not changers, wonderful at describing an event without quite grasping its contours ... you eventually begin to notice how carefully the author has had to fence off certain complexities to keep his kite in the air. The book’s first 30 or so pages, when Klara’s in the shop, are perfect. Once she goes out into the world, we see the author’s unwillingness to fully imagine her existence. It’s strange, for instance, that a book about a buyable girl is so sexless. Klara is a naïf, but she never catches even a peripheral glance of human perversion? I can’t believe it ... But then, Ishiguro isn’t a futurist or even a realist. He’s a moralist, holding up one of Klara’s fractured mirrors to the use and waste of our current age. Klara’s pure, rather formal phrasing makes the book seem like a fable.
MixedThe New York TimesStructurally, [Riedel] is comfortable: Again Riedel centers his chapters on shows, painting his pointillist picture of Broadway, this time in the booming 1990s. His gimlet eye for masterstrokes of marketing and producing is still there, enriching our understanding of the business, as is his ear for the sharp retort and the clash of egos ... once he’s finished with his account of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s fade from Broadway glory, the chapters evince a certain sameness ... Unfortunately, compared with his fascinated clarity about the flawed Schoenfeld and Jacobs, there’s little insight into the juggernaut personalities of Broadway’s latter days, even though — since they’re alive — he has more access. (It’s possible he’s actually protecting that access, since we rarely hear anything negative about the current crop of power brokers.) Singular Sensation, while undoubtedly valuable, thus has less swagger and muscle than his prior history — the ’90s didn’t conveniently follow a clear-cut story of bust and boom, but also Riedel’s vision sharpens as he looks farther away from his own experiences ... Still, at its best, Singular Sensation feels like a gossipy conversation, after a show, at a restaurant in the theater district ... His poignant introduction, written while on furlough from The Post, will itself be a document for future historians, as the unflagging theater yenta finds his perpetuum mobile stilled. And his enthusiasm for all aspects of show business is catching: His sources are producers, yes, but also designers and press agents and lawyers, the folks who don’t appear on the marquees. Had you never thought about the poster design for Chicago? Why not? Someone put passion into it, and that passion draws Riedel like honey. It’s not a sentimental book, not at all. But it reads like a love letter all the same.
PositiveThe New York TimesMarianne Preger-Simon...writes the gentle Dancing With Merce Cunningham from a position of preternatural acceptance and love ... [a] gossamer light memoir ... In ultrabrief chapters, she notes what she ate or the beauty of a field as the troupe drove by in its rattling VW bus. Yet somehow this never seems beside the point ... I found I carried her book around for longer than it took to read it. I would open it sometimes, just to remind myself: It may look to the world like nothing, but everything is the dance.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewThe sketchbook-cum-travelogue is quite a dreamy object—it doesn’t use many separated panels, and drawing often fills the page, black crosshatched edges feathering and dissolving into the ragged white surround. Like others of its type, the book encourages the eye and mind to wander. This is travel in its exploded view. Close-ups of French friends jostle alongside wide-screen landscapes; little notes and arrows carry us along Thompson’s stream-of-consciousness; there’s a page on how to wind a turban, complete with steps ... Thompson’s drawings are still lush and considered, flowing across the pages from his Pentel brush-pen, but the book is looser, sweeter, more suggestive than his other pieces. Yet it’s not all sweet. He often hates the trip ... Because of the way the Carnet functions, because it was made quickly enough to seem relatively candid, we now know how much of Thompson’s mind is taken up with searching out and drawing women ... sex confuses Thompson’s eye—and he sees the same curve of hip, the same bowed lip in girl after girl after girl. Explore as far as he might, that’s a blindness he does not escape.