stunt reviewing

4 September 2014

Personal, by Lee Child (Bantam Press)

Someone has taken a shot. At the president of France. In Paris. With a sniper rifle. Like in The Day of the Jackal. But it wasn’t Edward Fox. And it wasn’t Jack Reacher. Someone else. Who was it? And why? Those are some questions. And Reacher is going to find the answers. By fighting some men. And shooting them. With his bare hands. And some bullets. Jack Reacher.

Read the rest at the Guardian.

14 May 2013

Inferno
by Dan Brown

The tall writer Steven Poole opened the wooden door of the strong house and peered at the small figure on the stone doorstep. It was a boy. Cradled in his palms the boy nervously proffered a startling object. It was the new book by the famous novelist Dan Brown.

The tall writer took the precious artefact from the nervous boy’s hands and thanked him. The miniature human scuttled off. An idling engine revved into life. The writer glanced down the street, then retreated into the residential building. He knew he had better get to work. Looking at his Tag Heuer Swiss watch, he calculated that he had only 48 hours to decode the arcane puzzle of the bestselling author’s latest novel.

Read the rest at the Guardian.

11 June 2011

The Art and Craft of Approaching Your Head of Department to Submit a Request for a Raise, by Georges Perec, translated by David Bellos (Vintage)

Having resolved to exercise your brain and refresh your literary palate you decide to read this newly translated 1968 text by the deceased experimental french writer georges perec who is celebrated for once having written a long novel without using the letter “e” so having forked over your ten quid for this short story or at a stretch novella but a book is not any the better for being cheaper by the word you remind yourself in any case having forked over ten pounds you begin to read and either you find the looping style immediately so rebarbative that you cast the book to the floor and feyly lament your wasted cash or you find the style intriguing and continue reading Continued →

13 November 2010

The Interrogative Mood: A Novel?, by Padgett Powell (Profile)

Is my review of a novel composed entirely of questions itself going to be composed entirely of questions? What do you think? What is this novel composed entirely of questions about? Is it “about” anything? How are we to imagine the scenario? Do certain lines and section-breaks in the novel, one coming after the question “Do you have anything you’d like to say?”, imply unheard answers by another character? If we assume the questioner is speaking his questions out loud, what are we to make of the moment when he says he was writing one? Is this interrogation taking place in a military base, or a padded cell, or in Purgatory? Who are the other people present who never speak either but are implied exactly once? Or is this all in the questioner’s head? And if so, how did we get inside his head? How can we get out? Continued →