RaveLambda LiteraryWhile The Prettiest Star could have easily tipped into sentimental melodrama, Sickels manages to keep the story grounded and empathetic. Slurs are thrown casually, hateful glares are exchanged in public, and ignorance runs rampant while being upheld by those in power. But rather than wallow in it, the main characters in this novel look to live through it. While the story is primarily about a gay man dying of AIDS, the disease and his final months of life are used to examine exactly how microcosms like Chester can show the best and worst of humanity ... The reader is given a widescreen view of the protagonists that lifts these characters beyond clichés ... a sensitive, unashamed look at how much has and hasn’t changed since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. While at times heartbreaking, the novel is infused with a deep, hopeful humanity. It shows how difficult is it to live in a world that sees one as different but it also reflects how it’s possible to wade through that sea of ignorance, as long as you have enough to keep you afloat.
PositiveLambda LiteraryWe see how the generational attitudes of each of the characters shape how they view the world around them and how they can learn from and impart wisdom onto their partner. This leads to a more intriguing read, as while Call Me By Your Name was told entirely from Elio’s perspective, in this novel we are given multiple point-of-views ... improves on many of the subjects and topics Aciman first discussed in Call Me By Your Name. The characters from the first novel remain intriguing and the new characters rise up to their level, offering interesting new outlooks that inspire dramatic set pieces. It also helps that these characters’ various engagements take place in vividly drawn locales. Rome was briefly touched upon in the first novel and feels more alive and fantastic here, while the Paris section adds magic and wonder to Elio’s narrative ... The only real criticism is that sometimes the various sections are a bit imbalanced in relation to one another ... offers a emotionally relatable world, despite the rarefied locations. It’s the kind of sequel that improves on the original’s themes and scenarios. It is a story that inspires reflection: where you’ve been, where you’re going to go, and with whom will you go along these journeys.
RaveThe Lambda Literary Review[Pinsker\'s]... unique and effective storytelling manages to add so much depth and complexity to a variety of stories that it becomes impossible to escape their worlds, as if the reader is past the event horizon of a black hole from the very beginning of each piece ... No matter the setting, she writes these stories with such emotional range and depth that they become as familiar as the reader’s route from their home to their place of employment ... Pinsker does not dwell on sexuality and orientation, but instead presents it as another facet of the characters, inviting the reader to pay more attention to their emotions and their actions throughout the stories ... Pinsker’s collection has such a range and depth to it storytelling and emotional resonance that the reader will be left in complete awe after reading any chosen story.