[In this feature, we highlight a handful of the best book reviews appearing over the weekend in major newspapers. Follow it here.]
The Islanders, by Christopher Priest. Reviewed by Paul Kincaid in the Los Angeles Review of Books.
Christopher Priest has been writing about the Dream Archipelago for more than 30 years. The Archipelago is a fictional island chain between a cold, Europe-like land of technology and deferred warfare, and an Africa-like place where the fighting actually happens. This latest book about the islands comes across as a guide to 53 of their unknown number, but it also contains a nearly indescribable mystery woven in. This is a crazy, intricate book, and a great review at the new LA Review of Books site. Find this book at Goodreads.
HHhH, by Laurent Binet. Reviewed by Alan Riding in the New York Times.
On one hand, this is a historical novel about the death of one of Hitler’s super-henchmen, Reinhard Heydrich. Simultaneously, Binet inserts a writer-narrator with serious qualms about the book he’s writing. It’s an interesting twist for a historical novel, and well-handled in this quick review. Find this book at Goodreads.
Dial M for Murdoch, by Tom Watson and Martin Hickman. Reviewed by Peter Wilby in the Guardian.
These two opening sentences sell the review (and the book):
Even if you are familiar with the News of the World phone-hacking saga, you will be gobsmacked by this account. It is a tale of stupidity, incompetence, fear, intimidation, lying, downright wickedness and corruption in high places.
Damn. My only concern is whether I’m physically capable of reading 300 pages about Rupert Murdoch without killing myself. Find this book at Goodreads.
The Wind Through the Keyhole, by Stephen King. Reviewed by Brian Truitt in USA Today.
OK, so USA Today isn’t exactly The New York Review of Books, but in this case the medium fits the subject. King’s latest occupies a middle slot in his Dark Tower series. In a riff on The Canterbury Tales, the Dark Tower’s central hero, Roland the gunslinger, sits down with his companions around a campfire and tells stories. Almost certainly not a masterpiece, but neither should it be a clunker. Find this book at Goodreads.
Book trailer of the week: I’m stealing a page from Sean’s WBBR handbook. Here’s a pretty hilarious book trailer starring Neal Stephenson, for his new “group-written” book The Mongoliad.