PositiveThe New York TimesLow provides a taxonomy of the roles of equerries, private secretaries and comptrollers. But more than this, he explains exactly what a good courtier does.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review... in a sense, Profusely Illustrated is really an easygoing history of the left at a particular moment, with Sorel moving like a haimish Forrest Gump through print media New York ... The book’s not just a who’s who of liberal luminaries, but of cartoon-world royalty as well. I can pay the author no greater compliment than to say that, through it all, he does not come off as an operator ... As should perhaps be obvious, the memoir is overtly political. Indeed, Sorel makes a point of giving a highly opinionated \"exposé\' of every administration in his lifetime. But really, nothing provides so vivid a record of the events he lived through as the cartoons, caricatures and drawings that do, yes, profusely illustrate every chapter. He’s not proud of all of them, but together they concisely convey the passions and pieties of their moment ... Despite the deceptive neatness inherent in any retrospective glance backward, Sorel’s has not been an uncomplicated life. There are personal challenges, professional setbacks, regrets, controversy. There’s the loss of his beloved wife, Nancy. By his own account, this is a book about the failures of 13 administrations. And yet, the takeaway’s not a grim one ... In an introductory author’s note, Sorel states his aim: \'to save a few of my drawings from the oblivion that awaits all protest art, and almost all magazine illustrations.\' He does more than this. Warm, affectionate, often angry but never cruel, cynical but not without a certain faith in people, Sorel gives us a life — and a world — in pictures. It made me very happy.
Michael Farris Smith
PositiveTown & CountryI’m pleased to report that Smith’s novel is respectful ... it’s an homage to Fitzgerald that doesn’t seek to exhume or recontextualize as much as to expand the world of Gatsby ... What used to seem a travesty—imposing one’s own view on a classic work—now seems like an act of generosity.
Francesca Cartier Brickell
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review... as much a tribute to a bygone era as a thorough account of modern luxury ... The author tells us that her grandfather was initially reluctant to discuss Cartier’s early history: Ge was ashamed that it was his generation that had failed to keep the company in the family. But he gradually embraced the project, and his accounts are the beating heart of The Cartiers, elevating this from a company story to a human story — one even the unadorned will read with pleasure.
Rachel Deloache Williams
MixedThe New York Times Book ReviewThis book is being marketed as \'the definitive account of the Anna Delvey story,\' which perhaps it is ... But the publisher has also called it \'Sex and the City\' meets ‘Catch Me if You Can\' and if you believe that, I know a German heiress you should meet. As a narrator, Williams is earnest, sympathetic and all too conscientious ... You don’t envy Williams the ordeal — even if, dramatically speaking, the stakes never exceed her conflict over whether or not to accept a loan from one of several family friends. (She does).
PanThe New York Times Book ReviewAlmost since the beginning of her career, there have been two passionate camps on the subject of her oeuvre. There are the devotees ... And then there are the skeptics ... Neither group will find much to like in Laura Thompson’s Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life, a book that makes mysteries where none are to be found ... Part of the problem is that she draws heavily on Christie’s published writing, seemingly determined to illustrate nearly every episode of Christie’s actual life with an episode from her fiction. The general effect is that of a high school student trying to meet a word limit on an English paper ... Thompson has little regard for chronology ... It’s too bad that Thompson is so intent on larding her book with her subject’s own writing, because when she stops for a moment she’s capable of sparkle and insight.
Mary S. Lovell
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review...like a delicious truffle-laden soufflé, leaves you feeling slightly glad you’re not rich enough to gorge on it daily ... Lovell knows how to render sly appraisals of her often complicated subjects. For long stretches, neither the book nor the mansion plays host to anyone who isn’t horrible, or at least very silly, so it’s a testament to Lovell’s charm and skill that, much like the Château de l’Horizon’s chatelaine, she’s able to show even the most judgmental reader a good time.