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Culture Vulture: reviews round-up

The critics' verdicts on Don DeLillo and Jonathan Safran Foer.

Point Omega by Don DeLillo

Critics agree: it's easy to disagree about Don DeLillo. "The meanings that I find in [DeLillo's] complex, elliptical, compelling novels," says Douglas Kennedy, writing in the Times, "might be oceans apart from what you yourself might discover in his work."

In the Financial Times, Ludovic Hunter-Tilney puzzles over this short novel's treatment of "the Iraq war, which is portrayed opaquely, although unmistakeably, as the high water mark of America the hyper-power", while Stephen Amidon in the Sunday Times finds it "an oblique approach to a topic that might be blinding if viewed straight on.".

The Guardian's James Lasdun praises the author's "art of suggestion": "certain hints in the text, along with an elegant manipulation of the time-frame, permit a satisfying, even touching ending".


Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

In the Times, Neel Mukherjee finds Jonathan Safran Foer "brings a scrupulous balance to the debate" over vegetarianism with his new book, despite some sections "so bleak and shocking that they will fill you with shame, horror, anger and disgust".

Writing in the Telegraph, Sameer Rahim is less convinced: "Is Safran Foer's case for vegetarianism unanswerable? It is certainly compelling. But he runs the risk of sentimentality when he compares our responses to sick livestock and sick pets."

The Observer's food critic Jay Rayner also has objections: "While the subject may be new to him, there is actually nothing new of any substance here for an informed readership." Safran Foer "lurches from unsupported statement to unsupported statement, refusing to accept, for example, that certain animal behaviour is just instinct and therefore ascribing to it a higher intelligence".

"Point Omega" and "Eating Animals" will be reviewed in forthcoming editions of the New Statesman.


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