Monday May 17th, 2010

The Beat

A weekly roundup of noteworthy reviews from other sources.

krakenDamien G. Walter reviews China Miéville’s Kraken (forthcoming in the U.S.) for the Guardian. He says that Miéville “is far from the first novelist to threaten to obliterate London, he may win the prize for having the most fun along the way.” After summing up the plot, which involves a giant squid stolen from a musem, Walter writes: “If this sounds overblown, it is, and Miéville knows it: here we have a prodigious imagination letting rip. But alongside the exuberant displays of imaginative vigor, Kraken is Miéville both paying homage to and poking fun at urban fantasy. The genre that gave us Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Dresden Files, Twilight and arguably even Harry Potter is systematically dissected and left quivering like the remains of a ritual sacrifice.” . . . Jacob Silverman says that, like viewers of The Hurt Locker, “[r]eaders of David Zimmerman’s debut novel, The Sandbox, may find themselves juggling similar concerns of believability and entertainment.” . . . Alexander Theroux reviews a new biography of Jack London that he judges “valuable” despite “endless speculation about London’s possible homosexuality.” . . . Brad Mackay reviews Wilson by Daniel Clowes, about “the latest in a string of disaffected male leads to originate from Clowes’ pen”: “Though a crackerjack writer, Clowes has never been a flashy cartoonist, preferring to focus on storytelling over innovative tinkering. But here [he] gets as ‘experimental’ as we’ve ever seen him, using gag comics – the one-pagers traditionally used as filler in kids’ comics – as a structural motif.”