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Week in reviews

Written on: March 22nd, 2010 by: in Blog Posts


Backing into Forward by the cartoonist and illustrator Jules Feiffer, is the cover story on this week’s New York Times Book Review. It’s a “resonant, self-lacerating, and frequently hilarious” memoir that offers a unique history of New York’s postwar literary world and is populated by the most colorful legends of contemporary American culture- a companion in some ways to the recent Patti Smith biography, Just Kids.

In other reviews:

  • Sebastian Faulks’ A week in December is a rare visit to the modern world by an author better known for his historical romances- it’s a literary thriller that is “ambitious and entertaining” and mixes high finance with international terrorism, but to the reviewer, the moral calculus expressed by the author was off-putting.
  • Occupied City by David Peace is an “extraordinary and highly original crime novel” based on real-life events in post-war Tokyo.
  • Voodoo Histories, by David Aaronovitch is “thick with crazy ideas and even crazier people” in its exploration of the poisonous effect of conspiracy theory on American politics- from “who lost China” to birtherism.
  • David Shenk’s The Genius in all of us “tries to overthrow in one go the conventional ideas and images” about human potential and talent by exploring new discoveries in genetics and research into exceptional ability.
  • On the Brink, is Henry Paulson’s own account of his term as President Bush’s Treasury Secretary
  • The Making of African America by Ira Berlin is a bold attempt by one of the most prominent historians of slavery to “set aside the long-dominant ‘slavery to freedom’ narrative…and put in its place the story of a people uprooted and searching for a home.”