Book Reviews

'C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity'

Marsden’s “biography of a book” traces the development of 'Mere Christianity' from a series of BBC radio talks into a religious "antidote for the attention to self."

'Joan Chittister'

A full-length biography was on the minds of neither the author nor the subject met. But Roberts asked Chittister about her personal life. They began at the beginning

'One of Those Problematic Believers'

Writer David Means talks about ignorance and grace, the nature of time, the lasting effects of Vietnam, and how he came to write his new novel, 'Hystopia.'

From Hemingway to Charlie Hebdo

In two new books, Hazareesingh and Bell incorporate American views into the 20th century struggles between republicans and Catholics in France over "basic freedoms"

'At the Existentialist Café'

Sarah Bakewell’s latest work subjects (mostly French) existentialist philosophers to scrutiny both as thinkers and as human beings marked by their moment in history.

'Zero K'

Lurking beneath the main concerns of 'Zero K' is a story of filial conflict, though moving portrayals of interpersonal relationships are not exactly DeLillo’s thing.

Ramona the Real

Beverly Cleary captures a child’s perspective in a way that is totally convincing and never condescending, and feels authentic even several decades on.

Uncommon Decency

Simon Leys’s Catholic sensibility is never insistent, and never descends into preachiness. As he said of Confucius, sometimes it can be better to stay silent.

The Gifts Reserved for Age

There are multiple Eliotic selves, some more surprising than others, displayed in this magnificent, overwhelming edition.

'John le Carré'

Adam Sisman's new biography of le Carré—cartoonist, actor, mimic, linguist, expert skier,and spy—is intelligent, thoroughly researched, and tediously repetitive.

'You Think It Strange'

There is no release or relief in poet Dan Burt's story, just a stark and pervading sense of emotional sclerosis from the streets of Philly to the halls of Cambridge.

'Beatlebone'

Barry’s new novel—featuring John Lennon as protagonist—meditates on place, grief, and longing, ranging across a century’s worth of literary and popular references.
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