PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewA shimmering paean to the deeply flawed American West, which feels real and vital thanks to Clifford’s gift for description.
PositiveNew York Times Book ReviewWhat is the cost of a mother’s desire? In her debut novel, Fault Lines, Emily Itami explores this question with wit and poignancy ... Itami’s prose is distant, maybe inspired by the character’s remove from her own life ... Itami’s descriptions of spring in Japan are to be savored ... I was once told by an editor that the best stories offer an \'A\' and a \'B\' ending, but then delight a reader with a surprising but inevitable \'C.\' Sadly, Itami’s novel ends with a dull option \'B.\' I found myself wishing Mizuki could seek pleasure and adventure freely.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewI will admit, I worried that Lone Stars was shaping up to be a bit too much like my own first novel — cleverly titled Between a River and a Sea, because it consists of a bunch of carefully crafted scenes where not much happens between a river and a sea. The manuscript remains an unpublished pile of dot-matrix printer paper in my garage ... Thankfully, when “=Lone Stars, narrated in omniscient viewpoint, begins focusing less on Lacy as a beleaguered mother and moves to Julian’s adult years, I was spellbound. I cared. The scenes of Julian reckoning with his ill and broken mother — a woman whose devotion has both sustained and ruined him — are desperately affecting ... The accumulation of small, ordinary moments gives this novel its eventual power, continuing forward in time as Julian wrestles with the appearance of the ne’er-do-well father, Aaron, who he believes abandoned him ... It’s a testament to the experience of reading Deabler’s novel that when I closed Lone Stars, I felt moved, for the first time in a long time, to call my father — because I could, a gift in itself. I could tell him that I loved him.