Monday August 9th, 2010

The Beat

A weekly roundup of noteworthy reviews from other sources.

keilsonFrancine Prose praises the genius of Hans Keilson as seen in two short novels, one of them translated into English for the first time: “Although the novels are quite different, both are set in Nazi-occupied Europe and display their author’s eye for perfectly illustrative yet wholly unexpected incident and detail, as well as his talent for storytelling and his extraordinarily subtle and penetrating understanding of human nature.” . . . Michelle Goldberg recommends a new book about the religious lives of nine people in India. (“No single volume could do justice to India’s lush religious diversity, but I have never read one that encompasses more of it, or that penetrates deeper, than William Dalrymple’s luminous new book.”) . . . John Self reviews Tom McCarthy’s C, which will be published in the U.S. next month. (“It has everything that might appeal to certain literary prize juries: it’s stuffed with cannily-drawn characters, historical verisimilitude, and normally big subjects like war and death. Is that enough?”) . . . Tessa Hadley praises a debut novel just published in Britain, in which a disable young girl’s interior world makes up for her severely limited speech. Hadley writes that the book’s “conceit is ingenious, and it works.” . . . Paul Di Filippo reviews Mary Roach’s “often hilarious, yet journalistically and scientifically sound new book” about space travel, and compares its findings to the Mars-set science fiction of Joe Haldeman.