Archive: Book Reviews

Book review: “The End We Start From” (August 19, 2017)

A tale of motherhood at the end of the world

Book review: “To Die in Spring” (August 4, 2017)

A tightly crafted, expertly written novel that will both move you and challenge you

Book review: “The Revolution of Marina M.” (July 27, 2017)

A young Russian poet comes of age amidst the turbulence of revolution in Janet Fitch’s excellent new novel

Book review: “The Insurrectionist” (October 24, 2016)

A fictionalized treatment of the life of John Brown that fails to justify its existence

Book review: “Everything Belongs to the Future” (October 5, 2016)

Very good speculative sci-fi, set in a world where medicine has conquered death

Book review: “Indelible” (September 16, 2016)

It’s a flawed gem, but hold it up to the light at the right angle and it still sparkles

Book review: “Please Do Not Disturb” (September 13, 2016)

An expat’s tale of Africa — for better and for worse

Book review: “Hotels of North America” (September 10, 2016)

From a collection of online hotel reviews, a compelling character emerges

Book review: “The Boys of Sheriff Street” (September 6, 2016)

A graphic novel that combines a noir-ish crime story with illustrations you’ll remember

Book review: “We That Are Left” (September 2, 2016)

Clare Clark’s talents as a prose stylist are deployed in service of a story that doesn’t deserve them

Book review: “The Cartel” (August 29, 2016)

A not-great but not-awful Mexican narco-noir

Book review: “The Peripheral” (August 26, 2016)

Classic Gibson, but hobbled by a too-clever-by-half beginning

Books I love: Stephen Mitchell’s “Tao Te Ching: A New English Version” (August 25, 2016)

One of the very few books I’ve read that legitimately changed my life

Book review: “Kraken” (October 26, 2015)

I’m a huge fan of China Miéville, so I picked up Kraken with great anticipation. It pains me to report, therefore, that Kraken just isn’t very good

Book review: “The Martian” (October 19, 2015)

The Martian has received glowing reviews, which I find completely baffling, because it’s not very good

Book review: “The Water Knife” (September 25, 2015)

“The Water Knife” is an exciting thriller and a stark warning about the future that’s definitely worth your time

Book review: “Ghost Fleet” (September 23, 2015)

Ghost Fleet has been described as Tom Clancy for the 21st Century, which makes sense; Tom Clancy’s books weren’t very good either

Book review: “Wolf Hall” (September 3, 2015)

Wolf Hall appears to be one of those novels that polarizes its readers — either they love it, or they really, really do not. I loved it, for a few different reasons

Book review: “Ready Player One” (July 29, 2015)

I got the feeling reading Ready Player One that my memories were being used to sell me something that couldn’t sell itself

Book review: “Swamplandia!” (July 11, 2015)

Swamplandia! is brilliant — a gorgeous fantasia that flirts with magical realism without ever letting its feet drift too far from the ground

Book review: “Telex from Cuba” (July 5, 2015)

Telex from Cuba is that rare novel with a true sense of place; it drips with atmosphere and period detail

Book review: “Old Man’s War” (July 2, 2015)

A fun, compulsively readable adventure story, but one that fails to shake free of the burdens of its genre

Book review: “The Circle” (June 26, 2015)

The question of where the boundary between the public and the private should be drawn deserves a great novel to help us work through it. The Circle is not that novel

Book review: “The Paying Guests” (June 22, 2015)

The Paying Guests is a very, very good book. In fact, it’s the best novel I’ve read in quite some time

Book review: “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” (June 16, 2015)

Sometimes all the reviews are wrong. This is one of those times