RaveThe Guardian...a timely and illuminating study of political reaction, historical and contemporary, and its devastating effects on the present-day world and, most likely, the world of the foreseeable future as well ... Lilla’s critics would do well to read The Shipwrecked Mind, for its range of reference, its common sense, its subtlety and persuasiveness ... Lilla sees clear to the heart of modern-day millenarianism and finds there the old, old story of longing for a lost golden age and the expectation of a brave new world to come.
Being DeadJim Crace
MixedThe New York Review of BooksJim Crace’s new novel, Being Dead, is in its small-scale way a sort of reverse-Darwinian epic, an End of Species. At the close of the book he sets his two central characters, Joseph and Celice, firmly among the democratic orders of the dead … About halfway through Being Dead, the alert reader will realize that what he has in his hands is a traditional novel of English manners sprinkled with some of the props and themes of the campus novel à la David Lodge and Malcolm Bradbury, though without the laughs … Constantly in these pages one is brought up short by prosaic figures cast, arbitrarily, it would seem, in poetic form. The cumulative effect is not so much 'hypnotic,' pace the [English] reviewers, as dulling: what is intended as poetry often succeeds only in sounding like doggerel...There are passages of haunting beauty in Being Dead, but there are moments, too, when the poetry overwhelms the sense.
The Great FireShirley Hazzard
MixedThe New York TimesThe old stories endure, and one of the most enduring is that of the damsel in distress who is rescued by her peerless knight astride his charger. However, it would be a brave writer who would dare, in this Age of Irony, to make it the basis for a novel … Hazzard's book...flatters us in its assumption that we are engaged along with the author in a philosophical meditation on the deeper meaning of life, but her elliptical style will quickly try the patience of all but the most devoted reader … Leith, the divorced, lonely romantic, immediately falls in love with Helen, and the tale gets properly under way. Even in these earliest pages, the reader can hear the knight's armor creaking, his steed pawing the earth and the damsel's soft gasps of anticipation.
RaveThe Guardian[Ford] writes with deliberate flatness, eschewing stylistic flourishes – except when describing North American landscapes – so that Dell speaks in the cadences of a permanently damaged spirit. Listening to him, sentence by careful sentence, is like watching a car-crash survivor making his way along a hospital corridor, step by careful step. His voice, at once muffled and clear, is remarkably resonant, and devastating in its directness … Canada is a superlatively good book, richly imagined and beautifully fashioned. Although it is too early to do so, one is tempted to acclaim it a masterpiece. It catches movingly the grinding loneliness at the heart of American life – of life anywhere.
A Legacy of SpiesJohn Le Carré
RaveThe GuardianA Legacy of Spies brings it all back, as fresh and as rancid as ever, in a tale that shows the master in the full vigour of his old mastery ... satisfies not only by being vintage Le Carré, which it is, but in the way in which it so neatly and ingeniously closes the circle of the author’s long career ... The plot of the new book is derived from and intricately woven into that of its predecessor. This is an immensely clever piece of novelistic engineering, of which its deviser can be justifiably proud. The ingenuity and skill with which the thing is brought off is breathtaking – really, not since The Spy has Le Carré exercised his gift as a storyteller so powerfully and to such thrilling effect.