Books in the Media: Whitehead shuffles into this week's reviews

Books in the Media: Whitehead shuffles into this week's reviews

Colson Whitehead's Harlem Shuffle (Fleet) danced across the review pages this week, picking up mentions in The Bookseller, the Guardian, the Times and the New York Times, consistently being labelled as "one to watch this autumn".

In The Bookseller, Alice O'Keeffe selected the title as both an Editor's Choice and more recently as one of the best fiction books of 2021, calling it a "cracking tale", while the New York Times' Joumana Khatib also picked out the Pulitzer-winner's new title. The Times and Sunday Times literary teams also picked it up as a highlight of the autumn, calling it a tale of "hustling, heists and petty criminality" which promised to be a "morality tale mashed up with a crime novel".

Finally, Colin Grant selected the title as a Book of the Day in the Guardian, concluding that the novel is "built like a classic three-act tragedy" to make a "zinging wiseguy noir thriller". 

Paula Hawkins' A Slow Fire Burning (Doubleday) also lit up reviews this week. In the Evening Standard, Suzannah Ramsdale said Hawkins has "created an exquisite sense of place". She concluded: "Intricately interwoven plots and subplots, propulsive twists and a neat finale, while it’s no The Girl On The Train, A Slow Fire Burning is a deliciously easy psycho drama to hungrily tear through."

The Independent picked up Associated Press reviewer Rob Merrill's piece where he wrote: "The term is overused, but this one is indeed a page-turner. You want to find out who did it and Hawkins reveals just enough to keep readers guessing." In the iSusie Mesure interviewed Hawkins, noting that the "initial reaction to A Slow Fire Burning is, well, hot, prompting Lee Child to call Hawkins a worthy heir to Barbara Vine and Patricia Highsmith".

Last week, Sally Rooney's third novel Beautiful World, Where Are You (Faber), received reviews from the Times, the Guardian, Financial Times, the Telegraph, the Independent, the New York Times and the Evening Standard and the author added to those this weekend. 

The Sunday Times' Johanna Thomas-Corr said the novel "faithfully reproduces and remixes all of the elements that have turned the Irish novelist, now 30, into a unique, beloved, bestselling literary sensation". It was also the Observer Book of the Week, where Anthony Cummins said the book had Rooney's "dazzling dialogue and familiar delights". 

In non-fiction, James Dyson's memoir Invention: A Life (S&S) came out on top. In the Sunday Times, Oliver Shah called it a "part memoir, part press release" which left him "enlightened about engineering and design, and impressed by Dyson’s dogged, trailblazing spirit, but not disabused of that impression". 

In The Bookseller, Caroline Sanderson selected the title as a One to Watch, writing: "Whether you are someone who has an idea for a better product, an aspiring entrepreneur or just someone who appreciates design, it's a book that offers 'inspiration, hope and much more'."