Friday July 10th, 2009

The Beat

A weekly roundup of noteworthy reviews from other sources.

camus-a-romanceSam Anderson is a fan of “the memoir of literary obsession — that aesthetic wreck at the intersection of biography, confession, literary criticism, travelogue, love letter, and detective story.” So he finds much to enjoy in Elizabeth Hawes’ Camus, a Romance, even though he writes that “As an obsessive, Hawes is sometimes a little dutiful for my taste.” . . . Martin Amis reviews the late John Updike’s final collection of stories. Amis argues that Updike was “in the process of losing his ear.” To prove this, he uses several potent examples from the text and others where his criticism seems overblown. . . . In the Australian Literary Review, a look at “a committed, harrowing and at times oddly self-punishing journey” into the world of killing, from slaughterhouses to battlefields. . . . Ezra Klein reviews a book about walkable cities, and concludes that “if the central insight of the book is that urban policy matters, the central failure of the book is that it doesn’t take urban policy seriously enough.” . . . Joanna Smith Rakoff calls Jill Ciment’s Heroic Measures a “brave, generous, nearly perfect novel.”