RaveSouthern Review of BooksHer eleventh collection of poetry, Playlist for the Apocalypse, feels both intricate and monumental at the same time. She continues to be what she always was: a master of blending the individual and the collective, the personal and the political ... Sprinkled throughout the book, too, are language and imagery that surprise ... I’m grateful that Dove jostled syllables and caught words for this latest collection, because Playlist for the Apocalypse is everything I’d want from her and more.
PositiveThe Southern Review of Books... like rubbernecking in real time at a multi-car pile-up on the interstate. I couldn’t look away from the impending devastation ... Although I enjoyed picking out the parallels between The Wife Upstairs and its models and referents, the novel is not literary per se. It’s a thrill ride. The pace is hurtling, largely due to the book’s short, action-packed chapters. Although Hawkins’ Jane is rather unlikeable, and although it is difficult to understand what first attracted Eddie to her, she is delightfully snarky. Written in the present tense, the story feels imminent. I admired Hawkins’ deft handling of multiple points of view ... I felt implicated, dubious, off-kilter as I navigated this elaborate masque of a story ... Particularly intriguing, however, was the deeper layer of meaning underlying Hawkins’ tale and the shenanigans of her characters. She seems to be exploring what happens when both women and men, due to past trauma or to a desperate need to acquire and have, lack any true sense of self. What do they appropriate — and who do they step on to appropriate it — in an effort to make themselves whole?
Alix E. Harrow
RaveThe Southern Review of BooksHarrow’s story lies firmly within the feminist tradition, reflective of the social commentaries of modern feminist thinkers like Kate Manne and Rebecca Traister and reminiscent of women’s recent and growing exercise of their political power ... an homage to the endurance of stories and storytelling ... If I had just one criticism to level against the novel, it would be that the suffragette story thread was dropped early on. A book about suffrage and spells became a book about spells. I would’ve liked to spend more time with the members of the New Salem Women’s Association and watch them interact with the Eastwood sisters’ coven. But this misstep was minor. The Eastwood sisters are deftly characterized, and glorious in their imperfections; the world is imaginatively built; and the tale entertains. I found myself lingering over some of Harrow’s figurative language, which made the associative networks in my brain sing ... I rooted for Bella, Agnes, and Juniper every step of the way. I yearned for them to find that which they’d misplaced. The words and ways are powerful, and Harrow proves she has both.