RaveThe ObserverThis intriguing study of our urge to make scale models is full of bizarre stories and poignant insight ... engaging and exhuberant ... In Miniature reads like an upmarket Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, and I did keep having to search the internet to make sure Garfield wasn’t fantasising ... Sometimes I paused just to marvel at a fact, or the implications thereof ... The moral seems to be that we’re all small, relatively speaking, which is perhaps why In Miniature is not only highly entertaining; it is also moving.
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review\"First, it seems only fair to mention that those looking for a book about the enduring legacy of James Boswell’s great subject should look elsewhere. A mention of that Samuel Johnson does appear toward the end of Samuel Johnson’s Eternal Return, Martin Riker’s darkly inventive debut novel, as though to reassure the reader that she isn’t insane to wonder if the titular character would turn out to have some connection to the 18th-century lexicographer. He doesn’t, but, given the novel’s precipitous swerves, it would not have been shocking if he had ... At times, especially in the depths of...nightmarish sequences, I admired Riker’s audacity more than I enjoyed following his logic to its gruesome endpoints. The book is ingenious, but unsparing in its vision of a country populated almost entirely by selfish people in thrall to their vices and, more often than not, well on their way to being killed in automobile accidents. Maybe what I’m saying is that the truth hurts.
RaveThe New York Review of Books\"One of Eisenberg’s great innovations is in the real-time depiction of thought on the page, the banal revelations and asides that sustain us through otherwise intolerable days ... One marvels at the tonal tightrope Eisenberg walks, the adoption of the mock highfalutin internal monologue allowing for multiple levels of riffing ... There is, too, a sense of polyphony across the entirety of the collection. Though Eisenberg has said that she doesn’t write individual stories with the idea of their relationship to the others in mind, each of her collections has a cohesiveness that derives in part from her preoccupations, which echo across the pieces ... [Eisenberg] has few peers among contemporary story writers, and like those to whom she might be usefully compared (Alice Munro, Lorrie Moore, the late Mavis Gallant), her work has continued to expand and mutate over the course of her career... [her techniques] have only grown more sophisticated over time, resulting in stories that feel both architectural and organic ... One gets the sense, when deep inside an Eisenberg story, that she is pushing past her own understanding of what she knows, trying to find and identify the most difficult questions possible.\
PositiveBookforum... series of truncated, carefully carved vignettes ... The line between their games and real lives is frequently in question, and Torres captures this ambiguity from a child’s-eye perspective, depicting their world as wholly changeable and therefore terrifying ... The book’s only serious stylistic flaw is a tendency towards occasional \'lyrical\' overwriting and overstatement that makes certain themes more obvious than is necessary ... They’re animals; we get it. But this is a small annoyance.
RaveThe Paris ReviewDeWitt’s ruthless honesty about the sausage making of literary production is no doubt autobiographical ... But the generosity and humor of these stories soften any sense of personal grievance into something much more interesting and complicated. The stories are devastatingly specific, and yet they serve as broad parables about the inevitability of being misunderstood, both as an artist and as a person ... DeWitt captures the particular mix of sincerity and jadedness of the publishing world and of those whose job it is to be enthusiastic about highish culture in the face of periodic reports of its demise ... It’s probably not good for most writers’ sanity to spend a lot of time analyzing the cycles of hype, money, and fate that can dictate a career. But DeWitt has already done the work. One little look or two won’t hurt.
PositiveOpen Letters MonthlyFor Manhattan residents, current or past, the initial joy of reading Teju Cole’s Open City comes from pure, unadulterated recognition ...the approach that Cole will take throughout the book: a matter of fact, nearly fussy exactitude that attempts to fully situate the reader in Julius’s reality at all times ... What makes Cole’s book and style distinctive is the evenness with which he distributes his observations, the almost purely descriptive consistency with which the narrator treats street scenes, conversations, memories, and even emotions ... When he combines his observations about the city with a piece of historical or cultural insight, the effect is transformative, and Cole’s facilities as a prose writer are on full display.
MixedThe GuardianThe Absolutist is another wartime story, but this time it's the first world war. It depicts a relationship between two soldiers, Tristan Sadler and Will Bancroft, the latter of whom gravitates towards being the most extreme form of conscientious objector, refusing any role at all in the campaign: an absolutist ... With Williams, that sort of thing would have been followed by an amusing lurch into the demotic, but The Absolutist contains no humour whatsoever ... There are references to 'jokes and japes' among the men, but none is adduced. In fact, the whole book felt to me numb, generic ...will undoubtedly work for some readers but I felt it was better suited to a short book for children than a full-length novel for adults.
PositiveThe Financial TimesIt did keep occurring to me that it’s easier to follow Harford’s prescriptions if you’re rich and famous, so that unpunctuality, or a no-show, might only add to your mystique rather than getting you sacked. For Arnold Schwarzenegger, apparently, 'appointments are always a no-no,' which is easy to say with a line of people queueing outside your door. But I know Harford is fundamentally right, and I am proud to say that I have so far managed not to file this thoroughly enjoyable book on my shelf under 'H' in non-fiction.