The New York Times

Sensory Overload

THESE ESSAYS BY THE NOVELIST JOSHUA COHEN REVEAL A VERBAL PRESTIDIGITATOR OVERFLOWING WITH IDEAS.

“Attention: Dispatches From a Land of Distraction”

By Joshua Cohen

576 pages. Random House. $28.

A little pruning would have helped. The only point of opening an essay collection is to spend some time with an interesting mind, and Joshua Cohen — novelist, journalist, critic; prodigy, polyglot, polymath — has one of the most interesting minds in circulation. But half as long would have been twice as good. A miscellany masquerading as a major statement, “Attention: Dispatches From a Land of Distraction” gives

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