PanThe Telegraph (UK)Bret Easton Ellis’s compulsion to revisit the milieu of his debut novel Less Than Zero...is increasingly puzzling ... One could argue that in Less Than Zero and American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis produced two of the most insightful works anyone has written about his generation – which is why I and so many other fans of the early Ellis had been hoping against the odds that this long, long-gestating new novel would be a return to the form that he has struggled to regain since he reached the grand old age of 26 ... It is a disappointment, therefore, that he has given us something so unrewardingly self-referential, which treads familiar ground with diminishing returns ... The book doesn\'t really work ... In the end, you come away with the sense of Ellis revisiting a central period in his personal mythology so viscerally that he has forgotten about the need to make the reader feel a comparable interest in it.
John Le Carre
RaveThe Telegraph (UK)There are not that many factual revelations ... But one devours this book not for purposes of truffling out new information but to enjoy, as with so many chronological collections of letters, a pleasing sense of a life unfolding as it was lived with no knowledge of the future or the significance of events ... Le Carré’s letters are often very witty, especially when he’s making fun of his own buttoned-up-ness ... There are letters to accountants and the like included to show his prosaic side, but what is striking is how many of these ephemeral missives have been written with the whole heart, and are worth reading over and over again ... What emerges from the book, in other words, is a human being, liberally studded with warts and lousy with virtues – noble and petty, generous (with money as well as time and praise) and thoughtless, self-pitying and brave, absorbed in his private battles with his demons and preternaturally attuned to the way the world works ... A brilliant book, le Carré’s final masterpiece.
RaveExpress (UK)He is often a very funny writer but never just for effect - it is always in service of a serious point ... There are fascinating insights into his work on stage and in movies ... His constant complaints about tiredness and builders can get a bit wearying. But the pleasure of reading an unvarnished record of a life unfolding as it was really lived more than compensates ... one last great Rickman performance: challenging, uncompromising, utterly unique and truly mesmerising.
PositiveThe Telegraph (UK)He crams his sentences past bursting point, displaying the lexical gluttony you might expect from somebody whose prose has largely been kept within the spartan confines of speech bubbles for 40 years ... His prose fiction thrums with the zest of somebody who feels newly untrammelled ... His postlapsarian anger gives it a vigour and depth of feeling that will resonate even with readers who don’t know the heavily hinted at real-life identities of the characters ... Moore’s prolixity is oddly energising, conveying the exhilarating sense of words rushing to catch up with the author’s never-ending stream of ingenious ideas. Still, without wishing to put anybody off Jerusalem, 50 or so pages at a time seems like the ideal dose.
John Le Carre
RaveThe Telegraph (UK)If it is more politically nuanced than some of his books, in other ways it’s identikit le Carré. Nat (né Anatoly) is a sardonic, patrician, chippy veteran spy of dual English-Russian heritage – in sharp contrast to the narrator of le Carré’s last novel, Peter (né Pierre) Guillam, who was a sardonic, patrician, chippy veteran spy of dual English-French heritage ... As always, it is a sheer pleasure to read le Carré’s muscular prose. Few writers are so well able to convey strength and self-belief, with the result that the reader is forced to accept everything he says, sometimes against one’s better judgment ... What’s most remarkable is the way in which le Carré can still produce set-pieces of a type that he more or less invented 50 years ago and, at the age of 87, do them better than his scores of imitators ... although a minor work, it is probably his most tonally consistent and wholly successful novel for some time. And, yes, his MI6 may not be the MI6, but it’s an effective device for mirroring the current state of the country and showing why we might, in le Carré’s view, be heading to hell in a handcart.
PositiveThe Telegraph (UK)...[a] fascinating new book on the role of literature in the Cold War ... White mostly writes in a neutral, functional prose, which is well-suited to deadpan comedy...but his style really comes into its own when dealing with more emotionally charged material ... As in all the best works of non-fiction, comedy and tragedy rub up against each other with wonderful inappropriateness ... Despite the book’s length, there are a few sections that seem hurried, all narrative and no colour ... One might conclude, then, that the book is too short rather than too long – it is certainly not inflated by waffle. It frequently grips like a thriller, even in the sections in which White is dealing with intellectual ideas rather than blackmail and violence. It will serve, too, to remind writers of how lucky they are to live in a free society – and perhaps induce a little nostalgia for the days when people thought they were worth shooting.