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And Our Critics Commend

June 21, 1987

Who Killed Palomino Molero?, Mario Vargas Llosa, translated by Alfred MacAdam (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). "Vargas Llosa may have invented the authentic Third World detective story. The crime is solved, but nothing else is. The two detectives have done their work, and punishment comes in a reasonably foreseeable fashion. But it is punishment only; not justice. The solution has no standing, no meaning. Nobody believes it" (Richard Eder).

More Die of Heartbreak, Saul Bellow (Morrow), is "a loquacious, brilliant, entertaining book, mixing long flights of ideas with comic scenes that say a lot about the 'entanglements' of 'serious' men and calculating, ditsy, depraved, physically disgusting and piteously needy women." Bellow "really likes women rather in the way a preacher really likes sin" (Leonard Michaels).

The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age, Simon Schama (Knopf), "is a brilliantly written interpretation of the cultural development of a nation that attained a high level of wealth, power, and civilization while scarcely out of the diapers of infancy" (Johan Pieter Snapper).

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