RaveThe GuardianBeasts of No Nation is totally and shockingly alive from its very first paragraph … This blend of immediacy, innocence, sensual apprehension and tiny animalistic nuance starts small but within pages has gravitated into a cartoon fastness — ‘KPAWA! He is hitting me’ — and a very graphic cartoon foulness, highlighting both the smallness of the child and the monstrousness of what he finds himself doing … It's an apocalyptic piece. Everything in it is a kind of stripped-back fact, though carefully controlled images of pointless sacrifice, starved people and spoiled meat recur throughout, and images of soldiers shift from pride to horrific sexual degradation … It reads, in all its truth, like fable — as if Amos Tutuola had been mated with Isaac Babel.
MixedThe GuardianThe dead 14-year-old heroine of Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones is stranded in a much less supple, much more primitive and chronological parenthesis ... The book's "bones", above all, cease to be those of Susie's never-found body, or the animal bones her creepy killer plays with to distract himself from other young girls; instead they become "lovely", being connections between loved ones ... this is an interesting, calculated blandness, Sebold being concerned with the creation of a safe and supportive place in the face of a horror she herself has been so close to ... novel becomes a hybrid of realism and wishful thinking ... The Lovely Bones is so keen in the end to comfort us and make safe its world that, however well-meaning, it avoids its own ramifications.