Matthew Kneale, Author . Doubleday/Talese $22 (224p) ISBN 978-0-385-51407-1

Kneale, author of the Whitbread-winning English Passengers , reaches all over the world for these 12 tales, with mixed results. The global economy's power imbalance is the general theme; Kneale shows how the peoples of the world, though inevitably interrelated, often remain sorely ignorant of (or indifferent to) each other. He drops his characters into faraway lands, exposing them to foreign cultures and thereby forcing them to examine their own ways of life. Sometimes the comparison brings horror, as in "Stone," in which a well-meaning English family traveling through China run smack into the harsh laws of a small town and become unintentionally complicit in the ruthless punishment of a man they think has robbed them. Other times the comparison brings shame, as in "Metal," in which a British arms salesman in an unnamed African country gets caught up in a riot that makes him vow to change his life. The shifts in setting give the book energy, but this is slightly undermined by the sameness of the prose and similarities among the characters. Kneale saves his best for last, though. "White" follows a Palestinian suicide bomber as he makes his way toward Tel Aviv, an explosive device strapped to his chest, his mind racing with doubt. This final, highly charged story leaves a lasting impression. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/10/2005
Release date: 03/01/2005
Open Ebook - 978-0-385-67284-9
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-385-66139-3
Hardcover - 277 pages - 978-0-330-43534-5
Paperback - 277 pages - 978-0-330-43535-2
Hardcover - 224 pages - 978-0-385-66138-6
Open Ebook - 138 pages - 978-0-307-42779-3
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-1-4000-7957-5
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!