Books: A Thousand Suns

By Dominique Lapierre

The accomplished French author of the 1985 best seller The City of Joy recapitulates in honeyed prose more than a dozen stories he covered in his long career in journalism. He interviews the bullfighter El Cordobes and retraces Mahatma Gandhi's last moments. Much of the narrative runs to the cloyingly inspirational, and a good deal of it challenges credulity. For example, Caryl Chessman, awaiting execution at San Quentin, is portrayed as an intellectual who speaks in finely wrought sentences as he discourses about crime prevention, citing Albert Camus ("What a writer!"). Oh, what a mess!

--By Jesse Birnbaum

...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!