BY SEAN CLARK
[In this feature, we highlight a handful of the best book reviews appearing over the weekend in major newspapers. Follow it here.]
I spent the weekend skiing and not reading book reviews, so this is a slightly shorter edition than usual. On top of that, with Christmas approaching, there are more Best Of lists going around than reviews. In any case, here we go.
While the Women are Sleeping, by Javier Marías. Reviewed by Julius Purcell (Guardian).
I’ve never read Marías, but I have heard about him. Good things. This review isn’t very kind to this collection of supernatural short stories but doesn’t cut it down either. To be honest, despite the slant of the review, this seems like a book I might like. I’m intrigued by anthing that includes a story decribed as “a Lovecraft-style riddle about a Cuban soldier whose heirs are doomed to die before the age of 50”; give the review a read and see what you think.
The Killing of Crazy Horse, by Thomas Powers. Reviewed by David Treuer (Washington Post).
I saw on the news the other day that the American flag from Little Bighorn, bought by a museum in the seventies for $56, just sold at auction for $2.4 million. Crazy Horse was the leader at Custer’s famously devastating loss in that battle. Personally, I don’t see why so many people are drawn so fully to Civil War-era American history, but it happens. I am, however, definitely in favor of this biography not glorifying the Americans that tried their darnedest to commit genocide. Treuer does note that Powers doesn’t take sides, yet thats not really the gist I get. He makes it clear, too, that more than a biography or historical account, this book does a good job of capturing a larger theme: the story of a place and time, and events there that have “a heart still beating after all these years.” The review is worth read (it’s sharp and well-written–“Fate hangs over the book’s pages like smoke over a battlefield.”), and if you’re into history books, the book probably is, too.
Bonus Essay: It’s not a single review, but the Barnes and Noble Review has got a pretty good essay up (“Beyond the Horizon: 21st-Century SF” by Paul Di Filippo) rounding up some of the best science fiction stories of the last ten years. The essay is worth a read, even if one of his picks is a book I ragged on in my last entry.
Bonus Book Trailer: The title probably says enough. Shark vs. Train: