PositiveThe New YorkerCompellingly artful .. Another spectral figure haunting the text of Spare—that of Harry’s ghostwriter, J. R. Moehringer. Harry, or his publishing house...could not have chosen better ... Moehringer has what is usually called a novelist’s eye for detail, effectively deployed in Spare ... Moehringer has fashioned the Duke of Sussex’s life story into a tight three-act drama ... Spare is worth reading not just for its headline-generating details but also for its narrative force, its voice, and its sometimes surprising wit ... There is a certain amount of score-settling and record-straightening, which, though obviously important to the author, can be wearying to a reader ... Above all, Spare is worth reading for its potential historical import, which is likely to resonate, if not to the crack of doom, then well into the reign of King Charles III, and even into that of his successor.
PositiveThe New YorkerBeard’s is a very short book about a very long past with a very current relevance. #MeToo has been #ThemToo for millennia ...she contends with the history, ancient and modern, of women’s voices in the public sphere ... Beard points out the ways in which Theresa May, Angela Merkel, and Hillary Clinton have all been characterized as Medusa figures: snaky-haired castrator figures who are best dealt with by beheading ...points out the ways in which power is coded as masculine, and argues that it will always be insufficient for women merely to adopt and adapt those codes; rather, the codes themselves need to be revised, and our understanding of what power consists in must be challenged and reframed ...a slightly more optimistic vision — a reflection upon three thousand years of inequity and a modest hope for marginal progress, made through the incremental raising of cultural consciousness.
PositiveLondon Review of BooksThe book concerns a crime that could not be more horrible, the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl; but its tone is joyful, its message comforting, and its metaphysics unimpeachable in a culture which prides itself on its piety while adhering to an incoherent gospel of personal growth ... the book is told from the point of view of the dead Susie: it is a coming of age story told by a character who isn’t of age and never will be. Susie is a bright and ironical observer, even of her own murder ... Sebold’s writing is both lyrical and grounded, and her narrative moves with impressive assurance between the spheres ... The Lovely Bones dwells in the familiar American province where wanton supernaturalism meets all-embracing sentimentality.
Sheryl Sandberg and Adam M. Grant
MixedThe New YorkerLike her début volume, Option B is an optimistic book, even if one riven with sorrow ... Thus the book is in part a moving memoir ... Sandberg, who is reportedly worth more than a billion and a half dollars, is quick to acknowledge the ways in which she is insulated from the economic insecurity felt by so many others after loss ... Sandberg’s vision in Option B of Facebook as a platform for the expression of empathy rings somewhat hollow. Perhaps that is inevitable, given that Facebook, like any business, is driven by numbers, and that its success as a business depends upon algorithms substituting for the kind of human judgment that motivates a friend, a family member, or a rabbi to care for another.