RaveThe Christian Science Monitor\"... enjoyable on multiple levels. First, it’s a captivating work of fiction that examines how its two protagonists move from guilt and despair to redemption. Second, Aimaq immerses readers into everyday life in Afghanistan with such skill that even a passage about buying freshly baked flatbread is a poetic experience ... it provides a good example of what William Faulkner believed to be the goal of all authors and poets: to depict \'the human heart in conflict with itself ... because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat\' ... Aimaq also has a keen grasp of social settings and the psychological interplay that takes place during conversations ... Readers will come away with a deeper understanding of the land and its inhabitants, and will also have reason to anticipate her next literary effort.
RaveChristian Science MonitorPrefecture D is actually four novellas, each an intriguing story describing the complex relationships and bureaucratic tensions between individuals in the prefecture’s police force. This book is a perfect introduction to the political and social undercurrents that govern Japanese society. Like all good mysteries, each novella holds the reader in suspense until the surprising end ... Yokoyama’s storytelling is unusual, and his denouements contain twists. His psychological insights into his characters’ behavior – together with his succinct, descriptive prose – make for enjoyable reading ... Japanese can be a difficult language to translate and translators need to pay close attention to cultural nuances to ensure the correct context is represented. A shout-out needs to be given to the book’s translator, Jonathan Lloyd-Davies, born in Wales, who has done a yeoman’s job here ... Prefecture D may be missing the mayhem of the usual crime novel, but its page-turning narrative is not only captivating but also provides insight into Japanese society.
PositiveThe Christian Science MonitorIf your taste in fiction runs to psychological thrillers with elaborate prose and exotic locations, The Glass Kingdom is worth a read ... Unlike Dostoevsky’s Raskolnikov, the protagonist in Crime and Punishment, Sarah is not wracked with guilt despite having committed the crime of forgery and theft. If anything, she comes across as plagued with ennui. Her listlessness is puzzling, given that she made such elaborate plans to get the money in the first place. She’s like the dog that chases cars but doesn’t know what to do when it catches one. Her character isn’t particularly appealing, and one wishes that she would be more decisive – even if it’s just committing to something other than just being there. I mean, if you had $200,000 in cash and were living in Southeast Asia, wouldn’t you at least want to travel, buy fancy clothes, and live it up?... The novel’s other characters also have ill-defined backgrounds. Their physical descriptions are somewhat satisfying, but one yearns to know their backstories and add flesh to the bare bones of their existence ... What really shines is Osborne’s prose in observation and atmosphere ... Osborne, a British novelist who currently lives in Bangkok, paints a vivid picture of the city and its inhabitants. Referred to by some as a modern Graham Greene, Osborne explores the ambivalent natures of his characters against the backdrop of one of the world’s exotic megacities ... You can almost feel the oppressive heat when the air conditioning in the Kingdom goes out. You can hear the rain as it hits the glass roof of the Kingdom and see the changing evening sky. His verbal paintbrush does more for the city of Bangkok than it does for his characters. But if you’re looking for an escape from the ordinary, The Glass Kingdom fits the bill.
PositiveThe Christian Science Monitor... thoughtful and entertaining ... a deeply readable, contemporary take on the spirit of the age in which we live ... Deeper philosophical questions underlie this engaging narrative ... Beha’s pacing is smooth. I like the way he moves the reader forward in a page-turning mode and never signals any obvious turns. The characters are well-drawn and sympathetic. Importantly, there are implicit questions about where to place your faith – in money, religion, statistics, country: Questions that leave you thinking.
PositiveThe Christian Science Monitor[Clavin] does a yeoman’s job of combining original research with a knack for page-turning narrative that gives readers an exciting tour of the celebrated gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Clavin pulls the curtain back on decades of legend surrounding this fight, the town, and its key players.
Naomi McDougall Jones
PositiveChristian Science MonitorShe provides both raw data and personal experiences to show that this \'male gaze\' has a long history. She believes that ingrained power structures have permeated the film industry ... Jones’ writing has an honesty and energy that make the book a real page-turner. I did wish for a more complete index so that I could go back and find the context for specific names or ideas, but that quibble aside, The Wrong Kind of Women is an outpouring of passion that will change the ways in which movies are seen.