Eric Weinberger

The World Cup is the only football that matters

Every four years, when the World Cup ends, I make a promise to follow the players I’ve come to know, or the ones I’d forgotten about for four years, until the next tournament; but I never do. It’s not that following the Premier League, the Bundesliga, Serie A, La Liga, or Ligue 1 is difficult, even

‘Taking the knee’ is a flawed form of protest

Kneeling, fundamentally an act of humility or deference, doesn’t seem the obvious protest against injustice when the National Anthem plays before a major American sporting event. The quarterback Colin Kaepernick made the gesture famous—and personal, since only he (and sometimes a couple of teammates) did it before his San Francisco 49ers took to the field

In a gun country

Picking a day at random, ‘an unremarkable Saturday in America’, the Guardian journalist Gary Younge identified ten children and teenagers throughout the United States who were shot dead on 23 November 2013. Whichever day he chose, he knew it would be typical. Determined to investigate each of these deaths, none of which bore much —

Time trials | 16 June 2016

What are ‘lost time accidents’, apart from something on building-site signs announcing hours lost to worker injuries? In this novel by the Austrian-American John Wray, the accidents represent time travel, or one family’s century-long, multi-generation, trans-Atlantic obsession and dark joke. ‘Time is our shared disorder,’ says the narrator’s aunt. Waldy Tolliver is that narrator, anxious

The trouble with mothers

For a child, the idea of ‘knowing’ your mother doesn’t compute; she’s merely there. As an adult, there may be the curiosity — who is this person who gave me birth and brought me up? — but also some kind of resignation: you’ll simply never know. Better, even, not to know. So long as she’s

Staying put

Publishing a ‘New York’ novel in the months after 11 September 2001 is a surefire, if accidental, way to make it immediately out of date. Especially one about parking. There’s certainly a parking novel to be written in the age of global terror and suicide attackers, but it will have a more security-conscious bent than

All That Is, by James Salter- review

Some authors’ lives are a great deal more interesting than others — James Salter’s, for one. Born in 1925 and educated at West Point, a fighter pilot in Korea and afterwards in Cold War Europe, the chiselled flyboy soon jettisoned this for writing and became a cosmopolitan and a worldly adventurer. He made a film

The waiting-room of life

The decadence of at least two societies or cultures can be seen in Dave Eggers’ new novel, where some bored Americans wait for weeks in a giant cooled tent in Saudia Arabia for the chance to display the latest innovation in conference IT to King Abdullah at the unbuilt ‘economic city’ that bears his name.

What makes Romney run?

It can be odd to read a biography of a major political figure for whom, every day while one reads it, the story continues. Everything we hear in the news now about Mitt Romney seems to have been the case in 2008, when he first ran for president; or 2002, when after leading the Olympic

Lake Michigan days

It is probably hard to enjoy this new big novel from America without some understanding of the shortstop’s position on the baseball field. But that is easily remedied, thanks to YouTube, where searching for ‘shortstop, fielding’ arouses multiple videos that compete for attention, with stars of the game in their infield position between second and

We also do some work

The narrative trademark — or gimmick — of Joshua Ferris’s first novel, Then We Came to the End, is contained in the title: the book is told in the first person plural, which gives this story of Chicago office workers its initial powerful, even oracular, thrust. ‘We were fractious and overpaid,’ the book begins. ‘Our

Funny peculiar and ha-ha

Rumours and published reviews to one side, the new novel by Norman Mailer, called The Castle in the Forest, is not the ‘biography’ of Adolf Hitler or even the story of his youth so much as it is the life of his father Alois Schicklgruber, or Hiedler, finally Hitler. He turns out to be an

The shadow cast by college

Tom Perrotta’s fourth novel, Little Children, is a book one should read for its last 50 pages, but that means having to read the 300 before to make sense of it. In a book that primarily takes place in a suburban playground, it ends, naturally enough, at the playground, although at a worrisomely late hour,