Robert Gottlieb at the NYT:
A.N. Wilson has been for many years one of England’s most formidable biographers, as well as an amazingly productive novelist — 23 novels under his belt, to match nearly the same number of nonfiction considerations of subjects ranging from Jesus and St. Paul to Milton, Darwin, Hitler, C. S. Lewis and the queen. (Along the way he spent seven years lecturing on medieval literature at Oxford.) His knowledge is wide, his writing fluent — one can only wonder why his name and reputation haven’t flourished here in America the way they have in his own country, where he is something of a Figure. Alas, I don’t believe that this is going to change with his latest book, “The Mystery of Charles Dickens,” which is appearing just in time for the Dickens anniversary. Here, to put it bluntly, is a highly peculiar biography — peculiar not for what it says about Dickens but for what it says about Wilson himself.