RaveThe Spectator (UK)Unrelenting focus on the women in the story ... These books don’t undermine Eliot’s life or his achievement. Instead, they set him in a wider context, connecting him to the women who contributed so much to his success and paid a high price for doing so.
RaveThe Spectator (UK)At its heart is a crime, but this, as much as anything, is a structural device on which to hang an examination of moral courage ... Osborne is an ambitious novelist and this is more than just a story about courage in Hong Kong. Throughout, Adrian opines on America’s ongoing struggles and the implication is that what is happening in Hong Kong and what is happening in America and Britain are two sides of the same coin ... Osborne is too clever a writer to reach a conclusion but the overall effect of this timely, elegantly written novel is unsettling and concerning.
RaveThe Spectator (UK)... a ‘slow biography’ that lingers on details and in doing so illuminates a very specific period of Dickens’s life. Its limitation is that, in focusing so tightly on a single year (one that saw Dickens start but certainly not finish Bleak House), it doesn’t examine its aftermath. What followed his decision to sharpen his focus on social commentary, for example? The Turning Point asks the reader to make their own connection between the events of 1851 and subsequent ones. Still, this is a minor quibble. The book is a fascinating biography that ultimately brings fresh insight to the life of Charles Dickens and his work as a novelist.
PositiveThe Spectator (UK)\"At best [Bell] is a dilettante with good taste who didn’t quite belong with the intellectuals of Bloomsbury; at worst he is a womaniser with Nazi sympathies who took advantage of Virginia Woolf. In this useful book Mark Hussey lets him take centre stage and delivers a far more nuanced portrait ... Bell’s relationship with Virginia [Woolf] was more complicated ... Hussey’s patient tracing of the ebbs and flows of their relationship is one of the most rewarding elements of this book ... This biography is a thorough assessment of Bell ... This workmanlike biography may be a little old-fashioned, but it is generous to its subject, refuting accusations of dilettantism whilst admitting his flaws and reminding us how much Bell contributed to British modernism.
RaveThe Spectator (UK)... displays [Taylor\'s] talent for rendering the precise inflection of a relationship while exploring the drama of the body ... This world of frail bodies and vulnerable minds might seem grim; but when we let loose our instincts, the results can also be marvellous.