RaveThe Austin ChronicleThe time is 1925, the place is Copenhagen, and the protagonist of David Ebershoff's exquisite debut novel The Danish Girl is one Einar Wegener, a painter who specializes in dreary Danish landscapes ... This isn't a novel about a cross-dresser. Einar's urges run deeper than that –– he truly feels that, deep down, he is a woman trapped in a man's body. Ebershoff has woven a beautifully written novel out of the threads of a true story –– the story of Einar Wegener, the first man to undergo a sex change operation ... Ebershoff explores the complexities of Einar's sexual identity crisis with an immediacy that allows the reader to be just as confused, frightened, and enthralled as Einar and Greta often are ... His language and Nabokovian eye for detail provide delight after delight.
PanThe Austin ChronicleIn his new novel, Ishiguro has written a bizarre mystery story that is also a rumination on the limits and powers of memory ... Banks is much like The Remains of the Day's Stevens; both men speak in crisp, stodgy voices, and they are both, the reader comes to realize, unreliable narrators ... Ishiguro, through Banks, may be placing us inside the head of a slightly delusional man walking through a somewhat off-kilter China, a man who causes the reader to question if what he says and sees is to be trusted ... It's as if Ishiguro wanted to write a detective story, with its suspense and intrigue, but ultimately felt the genre too lowbrow and thus tried to turn the novel into some multilayered experiment ... While it's not fair to fault Ishiguro for not writing something as brilliant as The Remains of the Day, it is quite fair to say that this book is a disappointment.