RaveZYZZYVA\"Much like Guerrero’s lingering recollection of touching a cloud, Crux has a surreal, hallucinatory edge to it ... It is easy, however, to forgive Guerrero—digging into our resilient immigrant parents’ and grandparents’ pasts is a tricky, nasty business. It can be difficult, shameful even, to look directly at their humiliations and failures, yet Guerrero bares it all ... Just as the constellation Crux has guided countless sailors, at the end of her memoir, Jean Guerrero chooses the option that, however improbably, guides her safely to shore.\
Edouard Louis, Trans. Lorin Stein
RaveZYZZYVA\"From this initial winding sentence, the reader is plunged into, then relentlessly yet smoothly propelled through Édouard Louis’s autobiographical novel History of Violence (translated by Lorin Stein; 212 pages; FSG). The entire experience of reading the book is of baited breath, entrancing ... Yet History of Violence asserts Louis’s conviction in the importance of weaving such complex and intimate narratives about Reda ... Louis’s stories offer us valuable critiques of the systemic conditions that create people like Reda, and make us more aware of the cycle of violence that marginalized groups are especially vulnerable to ... Bravely, heartbreakingly, and with stark clarity, Édouard Louis uses the stories within the story of History of Violence to reconfigure his worldview, and in doing so, helps us to reconfigure ours.\
PositiveZYZZYVAThis sense of the bizarre and frequently surreal pervades the entire book ... Unlike many books, the strangeness consistent throughout Fight No More also seeps into the reader. I felt slightly off-kilter while reading, as though the dream-like air, smothering heat, and irrationalities of orderly suburban L.A. (where the collection is set) were warping the stories into mirages ... What grounds these works of fiction and gives them momentum is the diverse cast of recurring characters ... Millet allows her characters their small neuroses and gives permission for their thoughts to meander ... because her characters are so distinct, almost startling in their richness, Millet is able to explore such grand questions organically and humorously, all while not taking life too seriously.
PositiveZyzzyvaDespite the collection’s exploration of various genres––from magical realism to science-fiction––and varied points-of-view (including that of an immigrant Chinese boy and a homeless girl), the book instills a single feeling of cold, detached melancholy as we repeatedly glimpse the many shapes and terrible costs of these characters’ \'painful and hidden\' love. And it is indeed a glimpse Joffre oftentimes provides, depriving us of insight into her characters’ interiority at what seems like crucial moments. Though romantic relationships are only one part of our lives, Night Beast and Other Stories shows how they can overwhelm our existence in a way few other things can ... Night Beast and Other Stories serves as a reminder that we must carefully choose what art we fall in love with.