PositiveThe Washington PostUnlike the pungent writing of [Giridharadas\'] last book, Winners Take All,...The Persuaders exhibits a more searching, even sentimental, tone ... Lament alternates with hope stemming from figures who find the words and the moments to overcome this fatalism. Indeed, Giridharadas is so taken with his subjects that he is content to let them speak at length; a substantial proportion of the text is quoted material from his interviews. Perhaps as a result, much of the division he sees in our country seems to exist on the terrain of language ... The Persuaders grapples with...paradox.
PositiveThe New York Times\"Still, despite and perhaps a little because of its lackadaisical approach to its subject, “Live Work Work Work Die” manages to capture something essential about Silicon Valley that has eluded other authors. This is because Pein starts from the grimy underbelly of tech and never makes it out, which accurately reflects the experience of many tech workers. We only learn of those who make it big — Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. We rarely hear of the people who fail, or work uselessly and endlessly hard, without much in the way of reward ... This is an exhausting, one-note book, but the tinny, grating note Pein repeatedly strikes may nonetheless be one the world needs to hear more often ... His failed journey around the depressing periphery of the tech industry, its warrens suffused with the distinct scent of unadulterated bull, is a preview of the bleak, airless future it aims to deliver, by driverless car or drone, to all of us.\
Ngugi Wa Thiong'o
PositiveBookforum...the memoir reveals a writer who is practically quaking with rage. It is the fury of someone who had watched his hopes for national liberation curdle ... Much of his memoir is not strictly a memoir of prison, but one of reading and thinking in prison ... The Ng?g? of Wrestling with the Devil called not just for adding a bit of color to the canon’s sagging shelf, but for abolition and upheaval. That should be the legacy of his impressive body of work—the stalled revolution we have the power to take up again.
MixedBookforumMukherjee has rightly protested in an interview that Indian novelists, unlike their white Anglo-American counterparts, are always talked about in terms of how they depict India and rarely praised for experiments in prose or structure. But there is no doubt that A State of Freedom, for all its modest pushing against conventional boundaries of the novel, is a scathing portrait of India ... Mukherjee is at his best when examining the curiosity and cluelessness that characterize his own class ... While the mood darkens over the novel’s latter half, as details of poverty’s brutality accumulate, there is an overwriting that glazes each of the chapters and makes them ultimately difficult to distinguish ... The odd thing about this bleak novel is that, in attempting to depict a nation seething with movement, the portrait is finally one of stasis. People are on the move, but their lives and minds are circumscribed by class and caste, poverty and death ... A State of Freedom arrives seventy years after Indian independence and demonstrates the country’s manifest failure, but with more hopelessness than even Naipaul musters.
PositiveThe New YorkerBarnes gives us a mournfully sarcastic, frustrated Shostakovich, at once mocking of his Soviet patrons and stymied by his inability to break with them fully. In a sort of third-person monologue of impressions, vignettes, and diaristic reflections, he comes off as neither heroic nor craven, though he exhibits both traits on occasion ... The murderous carnivalesque of Stalin’s Russia, as captured in novels like Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita—the atmosphere of fear mixed with proliferating ironies and sudden plot twists, the island on the Gulag archipelago reserved entirely for jokes about the Gulags—gets reanimated in The Noise of Time.