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Angelina Jolie Biography, Gary Shteyngart's 'Super Sad True Love Story': Book Review Roundup

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Want to find out what Kakutani had to say about Gary Shteyngart's "Super Sad True Love Story"? How about the LA Times's take on Rick Moody's latest? Catch up on the big book reviews of the past few days here!


"Angelina: An Unauthorized Biography," Andrew Morton
The New York Times

It's one thing to assemble a lot of anecdotes about how strange Ms. Jolie can be and another to offer a pretty good explanation of how she got that way.


"Kraken," China Miéville
The New York Times

"Kraken" fairly throbs with the fantastical: a squid-worshiping cult, oppressed magical animals on picket lines, a very bad man who is actually a tattoo on someone's back, and a sorcerer who folds people up like origami and puts them into tiny boxes for easier transport. With its playful, densely pyrotechnic prose and its blizzard of references to other works, "Kraken" defies easy characterization as much as Mr. Miéville (pronounced me-AY-vill) does.


"Super Sad True Love Story," Gary Shteyngart
The New York Times

Gary Shteyngart's wonderful new novel, "Super Sad True Love Story," is a supersad, superfunny, superaffecting performance -- a book that not only showcases the ebullient satiric gifts he demonstrated in his entertaining 2002 debut, "The Russian Debutante's Handbook," but that also uncovers his abilities to write deeply and movingly about love and loss and mortality.


"Talking To Girls About Duran Duran," Rob Sheffield
Los Angeles Times

Whether you long for those days -- or ironically pine for them to the point where maybe you're not being ironic after all -- may play a great part in your enjoyment of Rob Sheffield's book "Talking to Girls About Duran Duran." The follow-up to his bestselling memoir "Love Is a Mix Tape" is a sometimes lovely and evocative, other times giddy and sentimental summoning of his New Wave-obsessed, awkward (aren't they all?) adolescence.


"The Four Fingers of Death," Rick Moody
Los Angeles Times

In the end, Moody drags the remnants of his culture like so many balls and chains across the landscape of the known. He falls to Earth. The book smolders, shudders and goes out. The End.


"Peep Show," Ilya Arbatman
San Francisco Chronicle

Nevertheless, although the book's shallow style does somewhat detract from its provocative subject matter, where else can you get orgies, sex toys, yarmulkes and tefillin all in one place?


"Delhi: Adventures In A Megacity," Sam Miller

There is no better way to experience a sense of place than taking a walk. Sam Miller took a grand one, a great spiraling ambulation starting at the heart of Delhi and working its way to the outer precincts.


"The Cardturner," Louis Sachar
The Guardian

The prevailing wisdom is that writers should start from where their readers are - engage with the fashions and mores of the time. You have to admire Sachar's chutzpah for doing the opposite.


"Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane," Neil Bartlett
The Guardian

Some of the key evasions in the narrative are disappointing. No one will ever now solve the mystery of Caravaggio's escape from his Maltese incarceration in 1608; but surely the far greater mystery of his apparent, almost complete, lack of conventional training for his chosen career deserves more explanation than merely asserting that this was proof of his innate genius.


"Inheritance," Nicholas Shakespeare
Telegraph

Inheritance is, we could say, a "proper" novel about a "proper" novelistic subject: an unexpected and disputable windfall. Feckless Andy, late for his former teacher's funeral, sidles into the wrong chapel at Richmond crematorium and finds himself at the sparsely attended exequies of one Christopher Madigan. By signing the book of condolence there, he finds he has qualified for a legacy of several million pounds.

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