RaveThe Guardian (UK)... a dense book, full of lengthy debates between the characters ... It is, in short, an unashamedly political novel of the kind that has been out of fashion for several decades ... a political novel that anyone who is part of a colonising or colonised nation – and that includes, of course, America – should read. It is an invitation to the reader to think, not just to feel: to think deeply about political systems and ideologies, whose interests they serve and what, if any, answers they can provide ... Nguyen is a craftsman. A fight scene in which a man is strangled is written as one breathless sentence several pages long. Later, he effectively deploys the dissociative implications of the second person in a scene of mental breakdown. And then there’s the humour ... a political novel comes in the guise of a thriller ... I wondered, as I was reading it, whether I would have enjoyed it as much had I not read The Sympathizer first. The answer is this. On its own The Committed is a rich and valuable read, but together withThe Sympathizer, it amounts to much more than the sum of its parts. These two novels constitute a powerful challenge to an enduring narrative of colonialism and neo-colonialism. One waits to see what Nguyen, and the man of two faces, will do next.
RaveThe GuardianTo Be a Man is full of thin lines. There’s the thin line that connects one human being to another, the thin line between being the rebellious girl and becoming a victim, between what religion offers and how it constrains. There is also the line that connects the past to the present ... Few, if any, of Krauss’s characters are born \'without precedent\', but they are sometimes forced to revise their inheritance ... A sense of displacement and fear pervades the collection ... The past is reckoned with; the significance of events, relationships, even the meaning of films are reinterpreted. The question of who we are at different times and places, and with different people, comes masterfully to the fore in that final story, To Be a Mam ... How much do we really know ourselves and each other? These questions linger long after the final pages of this supremely intelligent collection.
PositiveThe Guardian (UK)As a writer Eula Biss has two great gifts. The first is her ability to reveal to the reader what has, all along, been hidden in plain sight ... Her other talent is for laying bare our submerged fears ... In Having and Being Had, both gifts are on display ... if you are not deeply discomfited by the time you finish reading On Having and Being Had, you have no conscience.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewThe stories in Everything Inside were published over a 12-year period, from 2006 to just last year. What brings them together, apart from the land and people of Haiti, which has dominated so much of this writer’s career, are Danticat’s precise yet emotionally charged prose and the way she has curated this slim volume, bringing its elements together to create a satisfying whole ... a beautiful book.
RaveThe Guardian... forceful and tightly wrought ... Whitehead has a gift for summarising the essence of a person’s nature in a few lines ... for all the horror, the descriptions of violence are remarkably understated. For the most part this restraint adds to the book’s impact, underlining the detachment with which the violence was enacted. There are other times, though, when Whitehead slides over key moments that would seem to beg for more detail ... Instead of the violence, Whitehead homes in on the way in which every action fits into a fully orchestrated whole, which is why I would wish everyone, black or white, to read this novel. He demonstrates to superb effect how racism in America has long operated as a codified and sanctioned activity intended to enrich one group at the expense of another.
RaveThe Guardian\"The multiple voices are handled with restrained mastery by Lalami, who eschews drama to focus on nuance and detail, offering an ever-shifting perspective on events ... Lalami brilliantly underplays the rising pressure in this simmering desert town as Nora’s questioning reveals a history of resentment between her father and his neighbour, who had wanted to buy the Guerraoui property, as well as secrets her father hid from his own family ... The Other Americans demonstrates brilliantly, in ways foreseen and unforeseen, as often denied as acknowledged, how the personal and political enmesh in all our lives.\
RaveThe GuardianRené, a would-be film-maker, decides they are the perfect subject for a film, a 'mockumentary' as he puts it, in which he is free to imagine what is going on when he isn’t there. It’s an ingenious conceit, which gives Rushdie much greater scope as a writer than if he restricted himself (and us) to René’s viewpoint. It also mirrors the way we all see our neighbours, with only partial access to their lives; what we cannot see, we amuse ourselves by imagining ... At the centre of each character’s predicament lies the question of identity. Here Rushdie puts his finger on the existential crisis of our times and presses down hard ... The Golden House is not Brideshead or Gatsby – it is too rich and too riotous. Rather it is a modern Bonfire of the Vanities, New York seen from the inside and the outside, as only a writer of multiple selves such as Rushdie – Indian, British, now a New Yorker – could do. It is a novel about the many bubbles of the United States, written by somebody who has never had the luxury of living in one. His is a hard-won wisdom.
PositiveThe GuardianSmith is wonderfully convincing in her portrait of celebrity ... Smith has clearly done her research but her critique of western aid policies in developing nations – namely, that financial aid is often ill-conceived, poorly executed and rarely sustained – is scarcely new or unexpected ... It is a novel of breadth rather than depth, which is not to say it lacks insight, far from it, but it did cause me to wonder what kind of reader Smith is writing for ... The novel’s strength lies in its unflinching portrait of friendship, driven as much by jealousy and competition as by love and loyalty.
RaveThe Guardian\"Like Alameddine’s last book, the National Book award-shortlisted An Unnecessary Woman, this is a story of one life and many themes: in this case, death and sex; religion; war; the purpose of art and of love and loss; and the need to remember. Here is a book, full of story, unrepentantly political at every level. At a time when many western writers seem to be in retreat from saying anything that could be construed as political, Alameddine says it all, shamelessly, gloriously and, realised like his Satan, in the most stylish of forms.\