Saturday, October 10, 2009

ny times

There's some good stuff in the NY Times Book Review this week--this review of A.S. Byatt's new one echoes some of my own complaints:

While Byatt’s engagement with the period’s over­lapping circles of artists and reformers is serious and deep, so much is stuffed into “The Children’s Book” that it can be hard to see the magic forest for all the historical lumber — let alone the light at the end of the narrative tunnel. The action is sometimes cut off at awkward moments by ponderous newsreel-style voice-over or potted lectures in cultural history. Startling revelations are dropped in almost nonchalantly and not picked up again until dozens or even hundreds of pages later. Byatt’s coda on the Great War, dispatched in scarcely more pages than the Exposition Universelle, is devastating in its restraint. But too often readers may feel as if they’re marooned in the back galleries of a museum with a frighteningly energetic docent.

There's also a stellar review of Catching Fire, which I was very pleased to see, along with one on Francine Prose's book on Anne Frank and her literary legacy, which is in my library pile, and which I am now quite eager to read.

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