PositivePopMatters... part of the novel’s gentle and understated drama is the distance that Antonio goes ... Even a non-verbal form of communication like instrumental music becomes a scaffolding for Carofiglio’s characters to express—in words—something about themselves and each other ... specific moments...furnish the story with deeply moving truths about time and memory ... Carofiglio’s drive for simplicity and directness in language carries the reader along to clarity about fundamental truths, including the ultimate challenge that we and our loved ones will all face in the end.
RavePopMattersSara Seager is revealed to be an astute practitioner of metaphor as both a form of reasoning and illustration as well as a source of artful emotional resonance. So thoroughly, in fact, is this memoir steeped in metaphor and analogy, a proper reference point for Seager’s style not that of Humboldt or Sagan, for whom an analogy is drawn up periodically to establish a particular point, but rather that of Charles Darwin, for whom analogy is found to be at the root of his entire system of thought ... she is handling two distinct areas of engagement: the science part, and the emotions part. Both are revealed throughout in beautiful passages and images ... Seager endows these experiences with emotion and poignancy using an idiosyncratic but accessible and resonant metaphorical language.
Vasily Grossman, Trans. by Robert Chandler and Elizabeth Chandler
RavePopMattersGrossman allows himself these flourishes, and not all of it is convincing. Some of it even rings false in light of Grossman\'s early career as a functionary of the Soviet state ... But these are not regular beats in Grossman\'s writing, and their occasional appearances might not, for the modern reader, lower Stalingrad or detract from the prevailing humanity of his characterizations. His lengthy digressions into the desperate experiences of a group of Ural-based coal miners illustrate the tension.Miners are, of course, the enduring symbol of the indefatigable proletariat, cherished by Marxists in this period for their salt-of-the-earth quality and their historically well-developed sense of class consciousness. But Grossman\'s technical descriptions of their routine activities are interesting in their own right, and the sensitivity with which he characterizes their inner lives is evocative ... His character sketch of Vavilov, the honorable and hardscrabble peasant-soldier whose experiences begin and end the book, shows that this where his heart is – with ordinary people and the emotional and psychological content of their lives ... An overwhelming melancholy settles gradually on the reader with full force in the course of the book\'s over-1,000 pages. But these grim facts are partly why his work in general, and Stalingrad in particular, is powerful: he is providing witness to posterity for such lost lives.