RaveThe Los Angeles Review of BooksWhereas many of us post nearly all the time, Lockwood elevates it to an art ... The novel’s main disjuncture is between the comic — Lockwood’s voice is something like Dada Dorothy Parker — and exquisite, modernist style: the book’s epigraph comes from Mayakovsky, but we can find everyone from Joyce to Woolf to Faulkner in Lockwood’s intricate prose. Despite the fact that she’s mastered their style, Lockwood has little reverence for these literary heavyweights ... This dazzling array of minor human failures reads like a Whitmanian catalog for America in decline ... some of the novel’s most heartbreakingly intense moments arise when Lockwood’s comedy insists on its own presence despite its being out of place ... Lockwood combines two ways of engaging with the world that we often hold separate. Across her career, Lockwood has refused this separation, asserting that these contradictory juxtapositions are fundamental to language, humor, communication, and collectivity. It is only through revealing the moments of empathy in our jokes as well as the ridiculousness of our most heartbreaking experiences that we can glimpse the breadth of life both in and out of the portal.
PositiveFull StopIngalls’s mastery of the weird and eerie uses the relationships between characters to build unease. A subtle violence bubbles behind all these scenes, as Ingalls weaves together each character’s outward presentation with what they refuse to recognize in themselves ... demonstrates Ingalls’s ability to show the tensions and contradictions shaping ordinary life, as Binstead’s Safari reveals the intense connections, sensations, and desires that stalk between us and the people with whom we share the world. As the their failing marriage follows them on their safari, Ingalls shows the disastrous and fantastical consequences of their interpersonal problems once they are removed from their familiar routine.
PositiveLos Angeles Review of Books\"In R E D, Chase Berggrun deconstructs [Dracula] in a series of erasure poems and uncovers a new narrative embedded in the text ... Berggrun modifies the multiple layers of voices in Stoker’s novel to exorcise its misogynist violence. This polyvocal, multimedia approach allows Berggrun to adopt the chorus of voices that make up \'this terrible story\' and create a new story that affirms, rather than effaces, its narrator’s identity ... The power in Berggrun’s project comes from the form of erasure poetry.\
PositiveLos Angeles Review of Books\"While the Gothic novel feeds on the materiality of horror, Perry’s approach emphasizes the absurdity that a material as innocuous and commonplace as paper can convey the world’s most unspeakable horrors. In the process, Perry does not distinguish her readers’ experience from her characters’... and instead implicates her readers by framing their experience as similar to Helen’s ... Perry enriches our sense of reading’s materiality. She explores how stories change and live in time, and, in the process, disrupt the other stories of which they become a part ... Perry’s tales are dying to be unearthed.\
RaveThe Los Angeles Review of Books...DeWitt uses fiction to elucidate the conditions that allow people to create brilliant and beautiful things. Sometimes her characters make literature, but they also make suits, compromises, money, music, businesses, deals, and love. DeWitt’s keen insights provide the reader with a distinctive glimpse at how these moments of creation blossom ... In Some Trick, for every absolutist declaration, another voice protests, \'Isn’t there more to it than that?\' as DeWitt unspools a story from the divergent perspectives ... DeWitt constellates her stories around ideas and explanations that only come into full view through accumulation, the individual fictions unified by the book’s end ... By blending accounts of subjects as disparate as painting and contract negotiation, she somehow illuminates both in ways that couldn’t be achieved if treated individually. In doing so, DeWitt uses fiction as a brilliantly expansive approach to exploding, dissecting, and reconstructing aspects of life that too often go unexamined in literature.
Ahmed Saadawi, Trans. by Jonathan Wright
PositiveLos Angeles Review of Books\"Frankenstein in Baghdad... is a story about how matter moves between states of life and death ... In a sense, Frankenstein in Baghdad depicts a conflict between different kinds of media ... Saadawi’s monster illustrates the redemptive power of even the most ephemeral material. No matter how far down it is \'buried,\' it has the potential to rise from the dead and assert its own story.\
RaveFull Stop\"Mrs. Caliban is a novel that explores the things that stick around for too long, becoming part of our everyday experience, after they’ve outlived their expected shelf life. Ingalls uses Dorothy and Larry’s strange arrangement to probe the ways we build lives together … Ingalls imagines a world where we value counterfactuals and remembrances: the lost possibility of what might have been … There’s a sort of conflict at the heart of Mrs. Caliban that expresses itself in Ingalls’s B-movie plot, the publishers’ reissues, and the reader’s approach to the book. It demands that we both take it seriously and don’t. In fact, this is how Dorothy, Larry, and Ingalls teach us to approach the past – whether it’s tragedy we linger on or the farce we laugh off – it’s something that we certainly and always remember.\