PositiveThe New York Journal of Books... an in-depth, meticulously researched account ... The book takes an erudite, analytical tone, offering a depiction that is more biography than narrative. It also makes a point of showing how these women, while not necessarily knowing each other personally, were inspired by each other’s work ... offers a sort of correction; by framing their stories around the small London neighborhood that set the scene for their struggles and successes, it offers an inspiring perspective on what they each achieved.
RaveNew York Journal of BooksThis dichotomy, between the fictions we compose about our lives—the specific lens through which we chose to view them, and the truth, is a recurring theme in this incisive, sagacious collection of essays. Reading through them offers the pleasure of watching Cusk’s mind at work as she confronts and digs deep into the psychological dynamics underlying subjects ... Coventry marks a return to a more conventional style of writing, yet retains that same sense of an alert, engaged intelligence, negotiating the complexities of women’s lives and identities in our present moment ... what makes this well-crafted collection worth spending time with is Cusk’s voice: sharp, articulate, intelligent and honest. Brutally honest, but in a way that opens new horizons of thought and shows us the world from fresh perspectives.
PositiveNew York Journal of Books\"Iyer’s writing is both simple and lyrical, an apt style for a British/American with Indian roots living in Japan. The memoir succeeds, with its deceptively quiet descriptions of autumn both in the natural world, and in the season of his and Hiroko’s own lives, in echoing a uniquely Japanese appreciation of the fleeting nature of time, as well as the humbling acceptance that nothing lasts.\
PositiveNew York Journal of BooksAs no copy of the book existed in the camp, Czapski composed his lectures in the form of schematic drawings, replete with references to artistic and philosophical movements, historical personages, biblical allusions, and literary criticism. Several examples, in both the original Polish and English translation, are included in the book, and to view them is to behold, in microcosm, a distillation of European Humanist culture, created at the very moment when it faced a very real threat of obliteration ... Herein lies the books significance. Set in the midst of one of the darkest moments of human history, between the horrors of Nazism and Stalinist Communism, it not only portrays an attempt to find meaning and comfort through literature, but it in fact enacts that attempt. The talks were given as a relic from a world destroyed, and Czapski was its emissary ... Czapski quotes Proust, whose character, the painter Bergotte, asks as he contemplates a landscape of houses on a beach. Appearing here, in this extraordinary book, it poses a question on the value of art, which resonates far beyond the prison walls where it was once spoken to men who had lost everything.
RaveEntropyEvan Fallenberg’s The Parting Gift is a slim, riveting novel that takes us deep into the classic themes of love, attraction, jealousy, and revenge. Though it has at its heart the story of a relationship between two men, the story succeeds in shedding a fascinating light on the meaning of gender, both male and female, and the way in which sexuality lies deep in the subconscious, shaping and dictating what it is that we want and need from our lovers. It’s a sharp, short, streamlined text, compelling and vividly readable from the first sentence, and falling easily into that category of books which are \'difficult to put down\' ... Set in Israel, against the backdrop of the sights, smells, taste, and histories of the people who inhabit it, this is a book that shows Israelis and Arabs in a fresh, unsentimental light. The politics of the region, so complex and intense that they could overtake the narrative, provide a subtle undertone, a background against which the actual, flesh and blood story plays out. The book has evoked favorable comparisons with Lolita and Rebecca in that we find ourselves identifying, even as we wince, with a skewed view of the world. The prose, like the narrator, is pointed, unforgiving, tight, single-minded. This slim volume could be read in one long, intriguing sitting, leaving the reader to come away with fresh perspectives on the drama of sexual politics.