Embarrassment of Riches: NYTBR, 18 September 2011

Here, dear blog readers, are the reviews self feels like saving after perusing the 18 September 2011 issue of The New York Times Book Review.  There are quite a number!

  1. Susann Cokal’s review of Leah Hager Cohen’s fourth novel, The Grief of Others:  Cokal calls Cohen “one of our foremost chroniclers of the mundane complexities, nuanced tragedies and unexpected tendernesses of human connection.”
  2. Imani Perry’s review of Stanford law professor Richard Banks’ Is Marriage for White People?:  Banks, Perry maintains, “presents a lucid picture of romantic life in black America.  Moreover, he disposes of the mythology that the failure to marry is primarily an underclass phenomenon, turning his attention especially to the lives of middle-class black women.”
  3. Sylvia Brownrigg’s review of Ali Smith’s latest novel, There But For the:  “Smith’s love of language,” Brownrigg states, “lights up all her books, a body of work that encompasses four previous novels and four volumes of short stories, and that has garnered prizes incuding the Whitbread Award in Britain.”
  4. Stacy Schiff’s review of Jonathan Raban’s Driving Home:  An American Journey:  “It is impossible,” Schiff writes, “not to take to the author of a book called Driving Home who reveals that on his arrival he made the greatest of idiomatic American mistakes:  he bought the wrong car,”  a black Dodge Daytona that, according to the author’s significant other, screamed “midlife crisis.”
  5. Samanth Subramanian’s review of Siddhartha Deb’s The Beautiful and the Damned:  A Portrait of the New India, which Subramanian compares favorably to Patrick French’s “busy and insufficient” India:  A Portrait.
  6. Elizabeth D. Samet’s review of Karl Malantes’ nonfiction What It Is Like to Go to War, whose soldiers’ stories bear mournful echoes of Agamemnon and Odysseus:  “Don’t go home.  If you must, wear a disguise and trust no one.”
  7. Christopher Benfey’s review of David Lodge’s biography of H. G. Wells, A Man of Parts:  Wells, an ambitious writer once called “the man who invented tomorrow,” was “like Robert Louis Stevenson or Rudyard Kipling . . .   the best kind of hack writer, often most adept at offbeat things.”
  8. Charles C. Mann’s review of Hugh Thomas’ The Golden Empire:  Spain, Charles V, and the Creation of America, the second installment in a multivolume history of the rise of the Spanish Empire
  9. Anthony Doerr’s review of the Denis Johnson novella, Train Dreams, which Doerr calls “a love story, a hermit’s story and a refashioning of age-old wolf-based folklore like Little Red Cap.”
  10. Parul Sehgal’s review of Aatish Taseer’s second novel, Noon, which is about “that kind of family —  prone to falling in love with the servants, scheming against one another, messing with the wrong fundamentalist and leaving sensitive home videos lying about.”
  11. Marilyn Stasio’s “Crime” column, in which she reviewed:  the latest Chief Inspector Armand Gamache mystery, Louise Penny’s A Trick of the Light; Eoin Colfer’s Plugged, about “an expat Irish Army veteran who appears in the mortifying job of club bouncer at a sleazy New Jersey club  called Slotz;” and Charles Todd’s third mystery about World War I battlefield nurse Bess Crawford, A Bitter Truth.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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