MixedThe New York Times Book ReviewZaman can write beautifully about the frustration and pain of being a woman in a man’s world, an immigrant in a world suspicious of outsiders ... Still, a glorified journal is confined by the limits of its own scope. Zaman’s writing seems to have inspired her—she tells us so—but it’s too navel-gazing to inspire the reader.
PanThe New York Times Book Review\"Shalmiyev has a lot to say... But what she says she says with so much I-am-woman-hear-me-roar abandon, it was all I could do not to avert my gaze out of delicacy for her, if not for myself ... [There are] are pointless, sloppy sentences, and they highlight the central problem of this book. Shalmiyev has plenty of genuine self-concern, but beyond herself she seems capable of thinking only in stereotypes; she can’t see beyond her own suffering let alone get her readers there.\
PanThe New York Times Book Review\"[Houston has] learned nothing, in other words, between the first pages and the last ... Houston has always wanted to be \'a child of the wilderness,\' she tells us, but she’s now an elder; it’s time to do the hard work of connecting the dots between cause and effect... [To do so] would have been the beginning of a decent, possibly instructive memoir, or at least something beyond these sleepy musings.\
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewDangarembga writes with intimacy and compassion; there’s a sharp poetic crack to the work that keeps the story from muddying in melancholy, as it might in the hands of a less cinematic writer ... Both novels are inspiring, not in spite of Tambu’s hopeless situation but because through it all she never loses sight of herself while, at the same time, never underestimating the brutal reality of her predicament. In this regard, This Mournable Body is a story of triumph, not despair.
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewThe reader’s impulse to grapple with the text, to wrestle it down and to raise objections or to attempt to identify her own place in the context of the story, is a sign not of weakness, but of Grushin’s genius. This is a text that rewards rereading and demands engagement. There is no redemption story to relax into here, and no easy answers.