- Reviewed Elsewhere
Contributing reviewers Patricia Angley, Lucia Aranda, Alana Bell, Janet Butler, Judith Lütge Coullie, Michael Fassiotto, Lars Fischer, Marie-Christine Garneau, Theo Garneau, Noel Kent, Barbara Bennett Peterson, and Forrest R. Pitts provided the excerpts for this issue.
Publications reviewed include American Literary Realism, American Quarterly, American Scientist, Australian Book Review, Australian Journal of Politics and History, The Byron Journal, English Literature in Transition, Forum for Modern Language Studies, The French Review, French Studies, [Toronto] Globe and Mail, Hoy, El Imparcial, Journal of Asian Studies, Journal of Latin American Studies, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, Journal of World History, Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers, Modernism/Modernity, The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review (NYTBR), Notes, Opera News, Presidential Studies Quarterly, Russian Review, Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Studi Francesi, The Times, Times Literary Supplement (TLS), and Women’s Review of Books; and from South Africa, AllAfrica.com, ArtSmart, Beeld: Vermaak en Kuns, The Big Issue, Book.Co, Business Day, The Cape Argus, Cape Times, The Citizen, City Press, Country Life, Daily Maverick, Drum, English in Africa, Go, The Herald, LitNet, Magwood on Books, Pretoria News, Redroom.com, Ricky974, Socialist Review, Sowetan, Sunday Times, Volksblad: Boeke, The Witness, Word etc., and You.
Our Last Best Chance: The Pursuit of Peace in a Time of Peril. King Abdullah II of Jordan. New York: Viking, 2010. 346 pp. $32.50.
“Very much in the footsteps of his father, the late King Hussein, King Abdullah of Jordan has published an autobiography early in his monarchical career. I was initially skeptical because autobiographies almost always seem to me designed to put their authors in the most favourable light possible, thereby necessitating much elasticity with the truth. The King has in part confirmed my conclusion, although there is value and veracity in much of what he has to say.”
Michael Bell. Globe and Mail, Feb. 26, 2011: F31.
An Exclusive Love: A Memoir. Johanna Adorjan. Trans. by Anthea Bell. Toronto: Knopf Canada, 2011. 185 pp. $29.95.
“I have wondered for some time how one writes a memoir about suicide— someone else’s, naturally. How do you convey whatever sum of grief you feel while avoiding sentimentality, or a sense of outraged and perpetual [End Page 371] victimhood. . . . Johanna Adorjan has, unlike others who have stepped into this fraught subgenre, avoided these pitfalls. . . . Beginning with the bald statement ‘On 13 October 1991 my grandparents killed themselves,’ she plunges into a search to recover the arc and texture of their lives and, to a lesser extent, her own. And it’s that lesser extent that enables her to bring Istvan and Vera back to life in this graceful, loving, unblinkered quest.”
Martin Levin. Globe and Mail, Feb. 12, 2011: R23.
Aguirre, el magnífico. Manuel Vicent. Madrid: Alfaguara, 2011. 256 pp. 18.50 euros.
Manuel Vicent has written an intellectual and selective biography of Spain from the 1930s to the beginnings of the 21st century and in the center he has placed his main character, Jesús Aguirre y Ortiz de Zárate, eighteenth Duke of Alba. Because Vicent introduces his character at his birth in Santander, we are already aware from the beginning that he will become the Duke of Alba. Vicent writes effortlessly and hardly intrudes into the fifty year-long story he tells. Everything gravitates around Jesús Aguirre from his persistent social climb to his unrepentant intelligence. He delves into Aguirre’s studies in Germany, his time at the helm of the publishing house Taurus, his sermons in the Complutense University of Madrid, and his impetous engagement to the Duchess of Alba. The narrative has various speeds. When the topic revolves around Aguirre’s personality, events, or anecdotes, the tone is level. However, the sections on Spanish politics are hurried, in all probability to avoid producing a sort of x-ray of Spain. While this hastiness gives way to a dry ending, Vicent’s luminous prose manages to shine through.
Mayte Ortega. El Imparcial, Mar. 26, 2011.
The Memory Palace. Mira Bartók. Toronto: Simon & Schuster, 2011. 302...