Blindingly inventive novel that runs out of steam

fiction: Book of Numbers. By Joshua Cohen. Harvill Secker, €25.25. Reviewed by Kevin Power.

14th June, 2015
Blindingly inventive novel that runs out of steam
Joshua Cohen: a writer of considerable gifts, but also a few weaknesses. PIcture: Esfir De Veeck

For the first 150 pages of Joshua Cohen’s prodigious Book Of Numbers, I was one happy reviewer. My marginal annotations evolved from approving ticks to iterations of “Just wow.” I had my opening sentence all ready to go: “With the publication of Book Of Numbers, Joshua Cohen becomes a major American novelist.”

Why such excitement? Simple. In his first 150 pages, Cohen does what every literary novelist hopes to do:...

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