RaveChicago Review of BooksNick White’s gorgeous story collection, Sweet & Low, is wonderfully woven from threads of identity, sexuality, family, and heartbreak. Characters are deeply flawed and unforgettable ... Nick White captures the essence of the struggles of humanity. Death, resentment, and anger are set loose throughout these stories, but White gives readers a chance to spend time with his characters in a way that evokes empathy instead of despair.
PositiveThe Chicago Review of Books\"Monsters is a graphic novel that functions more as mixed media visual art. Ferris utilizes not just traditional comic imagery, but she also drills deeper by using paintings from Chicago’s Art Institute serving as characters and settings in their own right. Karen keeps an art diary, which acts as the format for Ferris’s story. Each page resembles a notebook that Karen uses to work through problems. Art is her sanctuary, and, when necessary, her next witness ... Aside from occasionally reaching conclusions a bit beyond her ten year old sensibilities, Karen is the perfect conduit for this story.\
Peter Handke, Trans. by Krishna Winston
PositiveThe Chicago Review of BooksThe old writer’s storytelling technique is reminiscent of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. Sensationalizing or downplaying occurrences—from the waving of a child’s hand outside the bus to the recurring appearance of a familiar woman throughout his travels—he keeps his and Handke’s story intriguing ... Is writing an escape or not? Is the 'damned jabber' the narrator commenting on the writer’s storytelling or merely repeating the sentiment of the writer on his reasoning for writing or his feelings about having to tell the story instead of write it? The answers are deliberately hazy. Then again, that is the point. Both the writer and narrator are storytellers changing it as they see fit for the greatest impact, creating the demand for them to 'Come on, out with it! Tell us!'”
Edmundo Paz Soldán, Trans. by Valerie Miles
PositiveThe Chicago Review of Books\"Soldán astutely links the lives of these full-blooded people throughout the full-color world of Norte ... Soldán maneuvers easily between the minds of these characters, himself crossing borders into different psyches and varying states of sanity to illustrate how traumatic displacement can be. The language often flourishes even when the scene is most solemn ... the visuals are so torturous they should require trigger warnings. Nearly every one of Jesús’s crimes is graphically described from start to finish ... Its characters experience internal struggles that arise from movement and place, but their struggles are what make them more than mere characters on a page.\
RaveThe Chicago Review of BooksThe Underground Railroad provides limited dialogue from the characters, but both Cora and Caesar speak plainly and think with a complexity that, if disguised in dialogue, could have cast a shadow over their nuances ... The Underground Railroad does not need to jar audiences with its gruesomeness. It manages to do that work by exposing the trauma that results from the gruesomeness ... Whitehead seamlessly ties the past to the present, turning history into a visceral experience that cannot be ignored.