Sects, sects, sects, is that all Pico Iyer was thinking about when he wrote Abandon? Stephen Schwartz’s review is harsh: “His Sufism is a marketable mysticism, reduced to small bites of tranquility and enlightenment.” And (Snarkwatch alert??) “Pico Iyer, who mainly works as a writer for Time…” is an unnecessarily sniffy, if not downright lazy, dismissal.

The Wall Street Journal reviews Henri-Levy’s book about the death of its reporter, Daniel Pearl. Tunku Vardarajam begins by applauding Henri-Levy’s willingness to ask uncomfortable questions, then notes: “The book also bares Mr. Lévy’s own identification–to the point of obsession–with Pearl. He sees in Pearl someone exactly like himself: On an obvious level, they’re both Jews and share a vocation…

But at another level, which occasionally borders on the creepy, he appears to want to be Pearl. He visits all the places Pearl had been to in Karachi and goes so far as to sleep in the same sordid hotel that Pearl once went to. (He has to content himself with the same floor, since the exact room in which Pearl slept was occupied.) For sure, this retracing of steps is a respectable device to ascertain what happened to Pearl and to capture the mood of Karachi’s Islamist demimonde; but some of it borders on posthumous stalking.”





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