Mixedi (UK)Successful satire majors on ideas and insights, and the imagination of Eggers runs riot to dazzling effect in his first couple of hundred pages. Alas, he doesn’t quit while he is ahead, instead continuing for more than 300 more. Consequently, the novel begins to flag and sag. Plot twists become predictable, and characters never credibly develop. Nevertheless Eggers does us a service in underlining the sinister directions tech is taking.
Positivei (UK)... a tour around three substances: caffeine, mescaline and opium ... Pollan offers us rich historical contexts for them that are often surprising ... Pollan’s summation of his three substances of choice is that they \'hold up mirrors to our deepest human needs and aspirations, the operation of our minds, and our entanglement with the natural world\'. These are large claims, but in the main he justifies them.
PositiveThe Independent (UK)C is notable for description which can approach the eidetic. Near the start comes a luminous account of the silk works, but some of the finest writing depicts the carnage of the Front ... McCarthy has researched extensively such recondite areas as seances, opium dens and Central European spas, but the novel\'s deployment of avant-garde ideas is equally prominent ... In C he continues to mine artistic movements from the past century to produce arresting literature for this one. Carrefax remains an essentially enigmatic personality throughout: the novel\'s title, indeed, underlines his status as cipher. This lack of affect demonstrates McCarthy\'s ongoing debt to Alain Robbe-Grillet and the nouveau roman, but perhaps more influential here is the idealism of the Futurists concerning speed, technology and violence, together with their repudiation of humanism ... Issues of motifs aside, C is formidably well assembled and it is admirable for an unashamed literary ambition.
RaveThe Financial Times...an unforgettable love story in writing that is often exceptional ... Unusually, the entire tale is presented in the second person. When used for more than short passages this narrative approach can become strained. Yet here any potential over-intensity is offset by the measured pace of Sonny’s thoughts and insights, and the combination works wonderfully well. Geary’s flair for visual description helps ... Occasionally there is unnecessary telling when showing has sufficed, with pathos intruding into Geary’s beautifully wrought scenes ... Even so, Geary captures time and place startlingly well. More important, he lays out the inexorable dynamic of this tragic relationship with masterly economy.