PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewKnausgaard’s ambition is to whittle away at the legend to arrive at insights about the genesis of the art itself, and not only Munch’s art, but all art ... Knausgaard’s response to the varying opinions of those he encounters is at once measured, insightful and tinged with comedy. He has walked into the land of the experts and visual artists and is afraid of looking like an \'idiot\' when the exhibition is mounted. His analysis of his own feelings is bracing ... The writer enacts on the page exactly what he hopes to convey. Art can sometimes break through the blinding conventions that dictate our perceptions ... Such superb moments are offset by less successful passages. When he is at a loss to explain a painting’s effect on him, Knausgaard periodically lapses into clichés ... He displays confidence about theories he has misunderstood ... That said, Knausgaard never underestimates the painter’s labor and study, and this book stands as a sincere, often lyrical and penetrating attempt to enter the world of another artist.
PositiveThe Washington PostIn Joseph O'Neill's third novel, Netherland, there are two great love objects: the city of New York and the game of cricket. Hans van den Broek, the novel's Dutch narrator, seeks solace in both the place and the sport after September 11, 2001, when he finds himself adrift in the city ...doesn't turn on plot. In both form and content, it questions the idea that a life can be told as a coherent story. It is organized not chronologically but as a series of memories linked by associations ... Through the voices of his characters, O'Neill articulates the problem of a narrative self ... Always sensitive and intelligent, Netherland tells the fragmented story of a man in exile — from home, family and, most poignantly, from himself.
MixedThe New York Times Book ReviewRobert Hughes was not a philosopher, psychologist or poet. He was an art writer and popular historian. His work sings when his eye is not on his own soul but on the world beyond him, both in the past and in the present. He was a shrewd, incisive, if occasionally rash, commentator, not only on the spectacle of skill but on that mad, motley, yet also wondrous circus we call 'culture.'