RaveNew York Journal of BooksOver the course of Salem’s story, Mihret Sibhat captures many of the elements of Ethiopian life and culture. The sights and smells of daily life especially those involving food are detailed ... Mihret Sibhat’s command of language, her sense of humor, and her love for Ethiopia combine to stir the memories of any who have encountered this culture and people.
RaveNew York Journal of BooksBrinda Charry is able to create a convincing picture of Virginia life in the 1630s and the struggles of its people to survive in a harsh environment ... This is a triumph of the imagination framed clearly within the realities of colonial Virginia. The East Indian is a historical novel in the finest sense as it illuminates a time and place through the lives of fictional characters and imagined events with exceptional skill.
PositiveNew York Journal of BooksPainful story ... As in many novels built around a sport, Winterland has its sports related climax ... Unlike many typical moments, this one is not the great triumph against all odds. It is much more complicated and satisfying than this cliche ... The post-Olympic story is perhaps the weakest part of the novel and seems, at times, forced and manipulated. There are some interesting turns here, but not easily believed even while they offer closure to Anya’s story. It may have been better to let the loose ends remain loose. Regardless of this ending, Winterland is a rich and powerful novel in which Rae Meadows displays her talents and her subtilty as she captures the essence of sport, the power of ambition, and the menacing hand of totalitarianism whether wielded by the state, society, or individuals.
RaveNew York Journal of BooksTyler Kepner...captures the moments and the mystique displayed ... Interesting and entertaining ... A thoughtful look at the nuances of this great game that will, for many, never be replaced by any other ball game or season ending spectacle.
RaveNew York Journal of BooksOf all of Crews’ magnificent output, it is A Childhood: The Biography of a Place, first published in 1978 that is the most memorable and is written in a language that will sear the mind and memory ... There are startlingly wild scenes written with hair raising power ... Crew’s word picture capturing this typical scene in Southern life, with its minute collection of images and attitudes, is an example of Southern literature at its best. It is a moving and remarkable artifact of a time and place that has receded into the past ... This review cannot begin to capture the power of the writing of Harry Crews nor the essence of this portrait of the life of a sharecropping family in the Great Depression. All that can be said is, read it. The power of the written word will never be made more clear.
RaveNew York Journal of BooksIt does not disappoint with its remarkable cast of characters, complex plot, and intrigue and, above all, its searing satire ... convoluted and difficult to follow ... At the same time, it is more than worth the difficulty. This is an extraordinary novel that is both in and of Nigeria. It contains elements of Yoruba culture and, in the middle of it all, is a gourd full of satire, humor and pathos. It is a chronicle of human folly among the happiest people on earth. The writing alone is a wonder and a fitting coda for the career of this great writer who led the parade of extremely talented writers coming out of post-independence Nigeria.
PositiveNew York Journal of BooksA treat and an education about multiple aspects and the fundamental allure of sport and the amazing story of the human struggle ... These stories are centered on sports that are off the beaten track or deal primarily with people who are not well-known public figures ... These are not stories of extreme sport, although some may regard some as being within this category. Rather, they are sports or activities that take place within extreme circumstances or conditions ... Not all of these stories carry this contrast of light and darkness. Some are just adventures, but memorable and unusual ones ... As with most anthologies, and especially those showcasing the work of one author, it should be read in small portions. One disconcerting element stems from an editorial decision on how to present the material that represents a series of stories run sequentially in the newspaper. Offering publication dates might have relieved the irritation of the repetition of basic information, or even better the repetitions might have been deleted. A small thing perhaps, and. Indeed, it does not detract from the stories in which it occurs. In single pieces, of course, this is not a problem. No matter, these are powerful tales, great or small, and they take you to worlds of sport that cannot be seen in the way in which most of the world consumes sport.
PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksOn first reading, this approach is disconcerting as the narrative jumps from first to third person, but once the style becomes familiar, the narrative flows more smoothly ... Christofi pieces together all of these elements of Dostoevsky’s dramatic life with great skill and clarity ... This is not a traditional biography, and there is much more that has been written elsewhere. What Cristofi attempts to do is reveal Fydor Dostoevsky the man with all of his charms and weaknesses along with the power of his ideas. In this, Christofi largely succeeds by producing a serious book about a serious man who is brilliant and charming and, at times, an irritating human being ... If you have immersed yourself in Dostoevsky’s work, you will enjoy working your way back through it as presented and analyzed by Christofi, and it will likely lead you back to read it again. If you have read only smaller portions of Dostoevsky, Christofi’s account will send you off to look for more. And, if you have never read this giant of Russian and World Literature, Dostoevsky in Love will send you off to start a great literary experience with a master of the written word.
Haruki Murakami, Trans. by Philip Gabriel
RaveThe New York Journal of BooksWhat is made clear in this latest collection of stories is that Murakami is a master storyteller ... Murakami deals with all of these issues in simple and almost delicate language with no particular explanation of memory, only a kind of wonder about it. He deals with very human moments and emotions and dwells within them, as they dwell within his characters. There are both moving and puzzling stories that at times are laced with humor ... Some will find these strange juxtapositions too much to deal with. Others will be irritated by the lack of resolution and the open-ended qualities of many of the stories. Ultimately, what Murakami produces is a world that features the odd, the unexpected, the incomprehensible, and the often troubled and emotional landscape through which humans travel across time.
PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksMadden has captured much of Seaver’s greatness and a good number of his human qualities ... The narrative is filled with quotes and insights from the Seaver family and close friends and from Tom’s classmates and teammates in Fresno and New York. All of this material is nicely woven around the highlights and lowlights of Seaver’s baseball career ... One of the strongest points of Madden’s work is his portrayal of the relationship between Tom and Nancy Seaver and the primary importance of Nancy Seaver in the maturation of Tom Seaver from boy to man. Madden also captures Seaver’s relationship with his father, his brothers, and his daughters ... As in most sports books, there are many accounts of big games and critical and decisive parts of winning seasons. Madden has a great eye for just the right quote, from the right source, to illuminate the personality and character of the Hall of Fame pitcher ... At certain points Madden delves into Seaver’s personality and reveals bits and pieces of its complexity. This is the one element of Madden’s work that comes up short. He hints at Tom Seaver’s less pleasant characteristics. It seems clear that Madden could have taken this much deeper and revealed a more complete and complex picture of the man. Tom Seaver, like of us, was a slightly flawed human being, yet someone who could serve as a role model for many members of the human family ... This is an interesting book with much to commend it. For the Mets fans it offers a smorgasbord of baseball delights, and for the rest of us a good read about a great pitcher and a man who understood himself and had confidence in his abilities which he developed to the fullest.
RaveThe New York Journal of BooksThis complexity is handled deftly and, as the story unfolds, the life of a village and its values are revealed ... a masterful piece of storytelling with multiple storylines crisscrossing the central tale. Ms. Mbue’s use of several principal narrators spread over four decades of time could easily have turned into an incomprehensible jumble, but her steady hand does not allow that to happen while it does require the full attention of the reader ... Not only does this novel tell the story of a village and its people, but it addresses any number of contemporary issues such as globalism, environmental destruction, feminism, and the survival of traditional languages and cultures.
Alan D. Gaff
PositiveThe New York Journal of Books... casts one more light on the 1927 Yankees, considered by many to be the greatest team of all time. The columns have the feel of authenticity that many such columns ghosted from this period do not have ... The accounts of Gehrig’s life from early childhood through the ’27 World Series are a delight to read ... The second section of the book is less revealing, but, nonetheless, a useful addition to the book, especially for those not fully familiar with baseball, Lou Gehrig, and the world of baseball. There are no new revelations, but Gaff produces a smooth and basic narrative of Lou Gehrig’s life beyond the scope of the columns and through to his tragic death. The material on Eleanor Gehrig, Lou’s wife, are informative and helpful ... The treatment of Gehrig’s illness and long struggle with ALS is powerful.
RaveThe New York Journal of BooksIn addition to being a remarkable history of the achievements of Drs. Murray and Anderson, this is a moving and harrowing history of World War I ... Moore’s skill as a writer delivers the story of these women and the history of the war with exceptional power, laying out a compelling combination of casualty statistics and individual human stories ... This is history worth knowing and a book worth reading; it is a story of the triumph of the human spirit.
Andrew J. Bacevich
PositiveNew York Journal of BooksAbsolutely no one is spared in this powerful and highly readable indictment ... Major columnists of the New York Times are called out by name for their failure to understand what had produced Trump and for obsessing over his half-truths and lies. There are times, in fact, when it seems that Bacevich himself is guilty of the same Trumpsession. Unfortunately, this detracts from the grave tone of The Age of Illusions. Bacevich seems to think that Trump and Trumpism will be superseded by a more rational world. It is difficult to agree with this assessment after reading this lucid and very depressing assessment of the current state of what some Canadians term, the Excited States of America.
RaveThe New York Journal of Books... may be placed near the top of the many lists of The Ten Best Baseball Novels ... If you have been to Talking Stick you will fully appreciate Nemens’ descriptive powers. If you have never been to spring training, The Cactus League offers total emersion into the physical and geographical setting of the desert with its intense heat of the afternoon sun and chill of the desert after sunset ... Nemens captures the culture of the team both within the clubhouse and beyond, particularly the world of baseball wives, sweethearts, and groupies....rich territory for an exploration of human relationships and their complications ... When the implosion arrives at the intersection of Jason’s crisis with that of others in this tale, the narrative feels a bit strained and manipulated. This is not a fatal flaw, but is a bit disconcerting and detracts from the overall quality ... Nemens is a skilled writer who captures the many dramas and nuances of spring training. She moves this story with a command of both prose and plot. Her eye for detail is sharp, and her ability to pass on what she sees is excellent. This is a book worth reading, and then reading again. It is a perfect antidote for those who recently watched as spring training abruptly ended and Opening Day slipped away.
Eve L. Ewing
RaveNew York Journal of BooksMany of the poems have great power, and some present searing images. Collectively, these poems present the history of a particular time and place in a form not customarily seen in historical prose ... These poems offer testimony to the fact that history need not be left to the historian and that literature can convey history with an emotional power that enhances and drives home the historical record ... Eve L. Ewing has achieved what the historian cannot. She has restored the blood and sweat to the historical record of a tragic moment in the history of the nation.
RaveNew York Journal of Books...Little Boy is written in a free-wheeling style using stream of conscious, marvelous word play, and uninhibited connections. After those opening autobiographical pages, Ferlinghetti abandons most punctuation ... As always, Lawrence Ferlinghetti is not bound by convention nor limited by language or, indeed, of culture ... Throughout Little Boy is an avalanche of language, words, and phrases, running across and through subjects and over time and space. There are echoes of Whitman ... It is a breathtaking summary of his century on the planet. This is an exhilarating and exhausting read ... If you have read Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s poetry with great pleasure, Little Boy will delight you again and again. It is rich and playful poetry disguised as a novel, and it is pure Ferlinghetti. For those who have not previously encountered him, Little Boy is likely to send you off in search of one of Ferlinghetti’s many volumes of poetry.
Elaine Tyler May
PositiveNew York Journal of BooksIn this brief and insightful piece of historical literature, Elaine May has recounted the history of the past 70 years from a very narrow and sharp perspective with important results ... How all of this has impacted women in the society is another of the major themes developed with great skill and to great effect by May ... Some will quarrel with Elaine May’s arguments, statistics, and examples, and that is probably inevitable. Others may be put off by the unrelenting nature of May’s prose that seems akin to an Oliver Stone movie in its drum beat persistence ... what is best about Fortress America is how it challenges assumptions with mundane examples that will be familiar to all and jarring to read.
Gary M. Pomerantz
RaveNew York Journal of BooksThe Last Pass is a remarkable and fascinating portrait of Bob Cousy, his family, and the Boston Celtics Dynasty ... For those seeking a recounting of these early years of the Celtics dynasty, there are ample game descriptions, especially the playoff struggles for the five NBA titles ... Some may find Cousy’s obsession with his relationship with Russell overdone, but the repetition does drive the point home. In the end, Pomerantz has created a fascinating and sympathetic portrait of a superstar athlete whose human sensitivities are on display and whose complexities are laid bare. Along the way Bill Russell, Red Auerbach, and three generations of the Cousy family, fill in many of the details of a long and fruitful life. In short, this is a moving story of a public man and his private doubts whose long life and self-examination should be an inspiration to all.
PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksEisenberg has a good eye and ear for the appropriate and amusing anecdote, which enlivens the narrative. There are small errors and disputable interpretations as one would expect in a work of this scale. Eisenberg repeats the myth that Teddy Roosevelt threatened to abolish football, an idea that simply refuses to die. He also uses the term \'integration\' when in point of fact \'desegregation\' is more accurate and appropriate for the NFL and many other institutions in American life. In the end, however, this is a very accomplished piece of sport history and a very good read for any fan of the game.
Jeff Benedict & Armen Keteyian
RaveThe New York Journal of Books\"...[a] fascinating and highly readable new biography ... Benedict and Keteyian have produced a volume rich in its analysis and exposition of a life of fame and tragedy. It is, in turn, depressing and exhilarating, while endlessly fascinating. If you have any interest in Tiger Woods, golf, or the culture of celebrity and heroism, this volume will be worth your while.\
RaveThe New York Journal of Books\"If you have read Amis’ fiction, you will be delighted to find these gems. If you have not read Amis, these essays will provide you with an introduction to his brilliant use of language and his insight into many of the foibles of modern life. His critiques can be wilting, while his insights are often illuminating. The beauty of this collection is expressed in Amis’ sharp wit. He is a master of the English language and a superb reader of the highs and lows of the human condition. His insights are at times breathtaking, and, at other times, simple statements of the self-evident as he hits you over the head with them ... This collection is a cornucopia of delights and irritants while simultaneously deeply satisfying and educational. What more could be asked for from Mr. Amis?\