Monday May 18th, 2009

The Beat

towards-another-summerThe lead review in this week’s roundup is David Gates’ stirring examination of Towards Another Summer, a novel by Janet Frame. Unpublished during her lifetime, it’s now available five years after her death. I was unaware of Frame, but Gates sent me looking for more information. He writes that, like Sylvia Plath, her “sanity became, and continues to be, the subject of tedious and condescending debate,” and that Towards Another Summer “has aged better than [The Bell Jar].” Whether Frame and her book interest you or not, Gates’ review is worth reading on its own merits. . . . I knew that Michael Lewis’ latest book, on fatherhood, was essentially a collection of pieces he’d written for Slate. Toby Young seems not to have known before he sat down to review it, so he was initially surprised that there isn’t much “intellectual meat” on the bones of “an endless series of [funny] set pieces.” Here’s this week’s line that sounds dirty but isn’t: I’d rather read Lewis’ bones than most people’s meat. . . . Bryan Appleyard with a funny review of two books about the first moon landing. . . . Yet another look at Samuel Beckett’s correspondence, this one by John Banville. . . . From Canada, a review of a book about hockey great Maurice Richard. The review begins with William Faulkner at a New York Rangers game. Seriously.