Scott W. Hellman at the Boston Globe wonders about the heft of Thomas Mallon’s new book Bandbox:
It may be unfair to criticize a light novel for its lightness. Indeed, Mallon, who spins this story marvelously, deserves credit for making it a story only, avoiding any overriding morals or meaningful conclusions. And yet some readers of “Bandbox” will feel as if they just closed a speakeasy: When the music ends and the drinks stop coming, what’s left is just empty, lonely night.
But he gives Mallon credit:
What helps redeem “Bandbox” is that it works as more than a historical novel — it’s modern satire, too. Mallon imbues the book with his own experience in the magazine industry, so his careful reconstruction of the Roaring Twenties is instantly familiar in today’s media climate: rival editors sniping at each other like children from Manhattan high-rises; flesh-obsessed publications outdueling each other for busty models; reviews of late consumer gadgets.