Friday October 9th, 2009

The Beat

A weekly roundup of noteworthy reviews from other sources.

anne-frank-by-proseDavid Ulin reviews Francine Prose’s new book about Anne Frank’s diary: “There’s no criticism, Prose argues, in calling Frank’s book crafted; if anything, the opposite is true.” . . . A British writer living in France reviews four books about France by British writers. (“[W]hat really makes us obsess over the French is that they evidently do not much care what we think of them.”) . . . Philip Pullman reviews a book that sounds like it might appeal to anyone who feels strongly about books as objets d’art. (“[T]he main thing to say about this book is that it is a stupendously good piece of design. The author and the publisher have taken real, prolonged, and exhaustive pains to make a beautiful book, and succeeded.”) . . . Simon Critchley and Julian Barnes have both written about coming to terms with death. Alexander Provan says they have created a new genre: “End-of-Self Help.” . . . Norman Rush reviews James Ellroy’s Blood’s a Rover, and says that the trilogy it caps off is “a major achievement in high parody.” . . . Jeremy Treglown reviews an “absorbing” new biography of W. Somerset Maugham, “an extraordinary, extravagant, generous and bitter artist.”