PositiveThe Washington Post... intimate ... revealing account of an artist of grit and gumption who set the pattern for much of the art being made today.
Onno Blom, tr. Beverly Jackson
PositiveThe Washington PostBlom is an indefatigable researcher, and he has made every effort to inspect any scrap of paper that documents Rembrandt’s existence between his birth in 1606 and his final departure for Amsterdam in 1631 ... The problem with writing a full-length book about a figure whose early life is sketchy is that the author is obliged to pad. Young Rembrandt has a chapter on a siege of Leiden by Spanish forces in 1574, more than 30 years before the artist’s birth ... Lacking concrete details of the artist’s daily life, a biographer is tempted to fall back on the hypothetical ... Such speculations aside, “Young Rembrandt” holds a wealth of historical tidbits about daily life in early 17th-century Holland ... If Young Rembrandt does not wholly succeed in its quest to reanimate the young man setting out on the path that would bring him fame, Blom’s book does offer a tantalizing glimpse of the artist’s first steps.
Anne De Courcy
MixedThe Washington PostDe Courcy juggles an immense cast of characters. In the book, aristocrats, politicians, artists, writers and movie stars show up for cameos on the Riviera and then depart. Except for the politicians and the artists, the participants in that extended bacchanalia are forgotten today, and De Courcy is generally unsuccessful in bringing them back to life ... This book is an odd account, not quite biography, not an in-depth discussion of fashion and not a comprehensive history of the place. Much of the material has been written about before. But De Courcy’s book is entertaining, and it satisfies the need for a peek, at once envious and satisfyingly censorious, at the lifestyles of the rich and famous.
Karl Ove Knausgaard
MixedThe Washington Post\"A more accurate title would have been \'Munch and Me: The Most Famous Norwegian Writer Since Knut Hamsun Considers the Most Famous Norwegian Painter Ever.\' Very little space is given over to the details of Munch’s life; instead, the book considers what it means to be an artist in general and what it meant to be a highly talented artist from a restrictive Scandinavian background, obsessed with a peculiar set of personal issues, and living in a time of radical change, artistic and otherwise ... This book is an account of Knausgaard trying to come to terms with the giant. As a writer rather than an art historian, his discussion of paintings largely involves description ... In writing about Munch, [Knausgaard] considers the work of another specialist in cultural excavation. And specialists get paid well.\
RaveThe San Francisco ChronicleThen We Came to the End is very good at capturing the interactions between co-workers, depicting a company as a family of sorts, with all a family's love and annoyance, the kind that make you defend a co-worker vigorously one day and want to stick a knife in him the next. Ferris knows that, for all our complaints about work (‘Can you believe it's only three-fifteen?’), our jobs are what give structure and meaning to our lives and that the fear of losing a job is motivated by far more than the simple loss of a paycheck … Then We Came to the End is an assured debut and an entertaining read.