Review Round-Up

Over at the L.A. Times, Michael Mewshaw discusses T.C. Boyle’s new collection of stories, Tooth and Claw, calling it an “impressive miscellany of styles, genres, voices and subjects.” The title story appeared in the New Yorker a couple of years ago, and you can read it here.

Writing in the SF Chronicle, Alan Cheuse praises Yiyun Li’s debut collection, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers: “Her prose is wonderfully complex, emotive and smart, so good, in fact, that it makes her fellow Chinese ex-pat Ha Jin read like a mere carpenter.” Also in the paper is a review of Leila Aboulela’s second novel (her first in America), Minaret. Critic and blogger Chandrahas Choudhury says it “attends carefully to the dwindle and ebb of religion in a secularized world, one that treats religion like a lifestyle choice when — we are invited to consider — it may be more like a necessity.”

After Michiko Kakutani’s glowing assessment in the daily NY Times, Frank Rich delivers another rave for On Beauty in the Sunday book review section. While Kakutani focused on the book’s similarities with Howards End, Rich highlights the cultural and ideological wars that the two families (the fathers, in fact) engage in and finds that Smith is the “fearless outside referee” needed to adjudicate said wars.

Also of note is Andrea Barrett’s review of Myla Goldberg’s new novel, Wickett’s Remedy. Set in Boston during the 1918 flu epidemic, the novel is “wonderfully well-written,” though it loses track of its characters in “a mass of historical detail,” Barrett says.