Cread latest

The best book reviews from Melbourne, London and LA: Creaview

We're back with week two of Creview, reviewing the weekend reviews of another three newspapers. This week in honour of Melbourne Writers Festival we feature The Age, along with the UK's The Independent, and the Los Angeles Times.(And list the LA Time's bestsellers.)
Nine Days by Toni Jordan was reviewed by Thuy On of The Age, who considered the use of nine characters' perspectives spanning a four generation time frame, a tad ambitious: “The novel feels like a series of postcards that offer colourful but tantalisingly brief episodes in the lives of nine individuals.”

Kate Holden, also of The Age, reviewed Our Kind of People: Thoughts on the HIV/AIDS Epidemic by Uzodinma Iweala. Holden calls it a  “passionately argued lecture on survival, stigma, African (read: human) dignity and misconceived Western attitudes.” She comments on how it challenged her with its cranky tone while praising its beautifully drawn portraits of people of the people of whom Iweala writes. Holden describes the book as a “curative lesson” in regards to stigma and dignity.


The Battle for Lone Pine by David W Cameron was reviewed by Ross Fitzgerald of The Age. The book is an account of the four day battle for Lone Pine on the Gallipoli Peninsula, and it clearly pleases the reviewer. Fitzgerald writes like a man with a keen interest in Australian history, and is pleased with Cameron's book which he says is well researched and recounts with due respect. Fitzgerald finishes with the comment that there is “nothing to do with glorifying war and everything to do with paying tribute to the bravery that Australians exemplified at Lone Pine and elsewhere.”

The Outsiders by Gerald Seymour was briefly reviewed by Barry Forshaw of The Independent, who explains that the book is “something of a greatest hits.” He vaguely explains that there are elements from all Seymour's earlier books, and one “galvanic” new element, which he says is Winnie, “whose pursuit of revenge for her dead agent is the motor for all that happens.” Despite this, Forshaw considers this thriller “not quite top-drawer Seymour.”

Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan was reviewed by Amanda Craig of The Independent in what is a well rounded and thorough review. Craig thinks it is McEwan's best book since Atonement and is even-handed with praise and criticism, summing up with: “Sweet Tooth, as expected, is a well-crafted pleasure to read, its smooth prose and slippery intelligence sliding down like cream. Yet one feels at the end that it is the prelude for a film script, with all the actors already cast, and its final question a foregone conclusion.”


Hostage by Elie Wiesel was reviewed by David L Ulin of the LA Times. His review read like an analytical essay as he tries to work out how it is this novel wants to be read. He comments that the protagonist's situation as a hostage is ultimately a frame for Wiesel's ideas – those of “revolution, or perhaps responsibility and denial.” Ulin says there is no real sense of threat in the novel, as the world is too much an unbelievable contrivance and because Shaltiel [a character] lets the reader know of the protagonists survival from the outset.

Wake
by Amanda Hocking was reviewed by Susan Carpenter of the LA Times, who considers the books writing “pedestrian — and she displays an amateurishness with plot details that aren't fully developed and diversions that seem to take the action off course.” Carpenter does, however, find the story an alluring concept and has hopes that the second instalment of this four book deal will see the series hit its stride.

And for the list-lovers, the LA Times top-selling hardcover fiction:


Hardcover Fiction 
Place
Weeks
on List
1

A wife mysteriously disappears on her fifth wedding anniversary.
10
2

A tangled love story spanning 50 years from Hollywood to the Italian coast.
8
3

A comic reimagining with the Dark Lord as a doting father.
17
4

A coming-of-age tale in a future when the earth's rotation slows and days stretch into weeks.
(Random House: $26) Buy a copy of this book»
7
5

A desperate middle-age American businessman has one last chance at redemption in Saudi Arabia.
8
6

A Hollywood Star becomes a valuable ally to a network of spies in 1938 Paris.
(Random House: $27) Buy a copy of this book»
10
7

A knock at the door forces a career woman to confront her past.
(St. Martin's: $27.99) Buy a copy of this book»
3
8

An old secret threatens a couple's life in Barcelona.
(Harper: $25.99) Buy a copy of this book»
5
9

Detective Mick Kennedy returns to investigate an attack on a family in an Irish housing development
(Viking: $27.95) Buy a copy of this book»
3
10

Hunger Games winners face the consequences of their victory.
97
11

An Australian lighthouse keeper and his wife take in a baby washed ashore in a boat.
(Scribner: $25) Buy a copy of this book»
2
12

Odd Thomas confronts evil in Roseland a haunted west coast estate.
2
13

No one is safe in the final installment of the Hunger Games trilogy.
79
14

counterterrorism operative Scot Harvath’s has become the target
2
15

A beleaguered husband walks six hundred miles to visit a dying friend.
(Random House: $25) Buy a copy of this book»
1
16

A love story set against the backdrop of the Armenian genocide.
(Doubleday: $25.95) Buy a copy of this book»
2
17

Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell's vicious manuevering continue in this sequel to "Wolf Hall".
12
18

The death of the Vatican's curator of antiquities leads investigator Gabriel Allon to stolen art and organized crime.
(Harper: $27.99) Buy a copy of this book»
4
19

Greg gets trapped in the house during a snowstorm.
(Abrams: $13.95) Buy a copy of this book»
17
20

A 15-year-old fends for himself after his parents are arrested for robbing a bank.
11

No comments