Monday July 12th, 2010

The Beat

A weekly roundup of noteworthy reviews from other sources.

tana-frenchLaura Miller praises Faithful Place, the new novel by Tana French: “Detective fiction’s legions of brooding sleuths have paid lip service to Nietzsche’s observation that if you look long enough into the abyss, the abyss starts looking back. In French’s novels, the person looking becomes the abyss.” Miller says the settings of French’s novels “[make] Philip Marlowe’s L.A. look like a church picnic.” . . . The Economist reviews a new history of catching waves. (“Surfing is more akin to fly-fishing or bird-watching than to parachute jumping or alligator wrestling.”) . . . Meghan O’Rourke reviews Anne Carson’s highly designed, multimedia tribute to her dead brother. “Despite the inclusion of personal details, Nox (Latin for “night”) is as much an attempt to make sense of the human impulse to mourn as it is a story about a lost sibling.” . . . In yesterday’s New York Times Book Review, Lauren Winner reviewed Eric Lax’s new memoir, “a steady, quiet love letter to a faith he has lost,” and Christopher Hitchens considered Philip Pullman’s reimagined life of Jesus: “It is not merely a reweaving of the synoptic Gospels with the supernatural dimension left out. It is an attempt by an experienced storyteller to show how even the best-plotted stories can get too far out of hand.” . . . Herbert Gold reviews California scholar Kevin Starr’s latest, “an ecstatic meditation on the complicated drama of the Golden Gate Bridge and a chronicle of its history.”