RaveThe New York Times Book Review... stark, bewitching ... The merciless seesaw of [Seager\'s] grief makes for harrowing reading ... The second half of her story gleams with insights into what it means to lose a partner in midlife, and just as the widows helped Seager feel less alone, her story is sure to help any readers grappling with a similar loss ... Seager’s [prose] is rawer and starker, full of blues and blacks, written in the ink of grief, suffering, healing and — ultimately — clarity. In Seager’s hands you’re as apt to learn about \'a special body bag that’s designed to slide down stairs\' as about storm-wracked rogue exoplanets where it rains molten iron ... beautifully dramatize[s] the emotional precarity of having one’s career pinned to the fate of space hardware ... address[es] the challenges of being female physical scientists in a male-dominated field, and convey[s] the struggle of operating in the vast scales of the universe at work, then commuting home to operate in the humbler scales of the domestic sphere ... [Seager] exemplifies the humanity of science.
Sarah Stewart Johnson
RaveThe New York Times Book Review[Johnson] presents efficient thumbnails of astronomers like Percival Lowell, who popularized the idea of visible \'canals\' on Mars as evidence of an alien civilization; Carl Sagan, who suggested that big, turtlelike organisms \'are not only possible on Mars; they may be favored\'; and Maria Zuber, the only woman among the 87 investigators on the 1996 Mars Global Surveyor science team. Along the way, you come to appreciate the astonishing ingenuity required to safely send rovers the size of Mini Coopers several hundred million kilometers through a frozen vacuum, land them on another planet and drive them around by remote control. Most compelling are Johnson’s memories of formative moments ... Johnson’s prose swirls with lyrical wonder, as varied and multihued as the apricot deserts, butterscotch skies and blue sunsets of Mars ... beautifully dramatize[s] the emotional precarity of having one’s career pinned to the fate of space hardware ... exemplifies the humanity of science: Johnson laughs, grieves, hopes, fails, tries, fails and tries again.
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewThe last novella, \'Sarverville Remains,\' is the longest and the best. The loner this time is the 30-something Geoffrey Sarver, a mentally disabled gas station attendant who finds himself at one corner of an unlikely love rectangle ... A hippie commune appears briefly in each novella, the only place they intersect, and it reveals something fundamental about each main character ... Read back to back to back, these novellas form a triptych — detailed works in their own right, they offer more than the sum of their parts when taken together. Weil meticulously imagines people and their histories, and presents them as a product of their places. This is perhaps the hardest thing for a fiction writer of any age, working in any form, to accomplish.
RaveThe New York Times Sunday Book ReviewWhat Johnson builds from the ashes of Grainier’s life is a tender, lonesome and riveting story, an American epic writ small, in which Grainier drives a horse cart, flies in a biplane, takes part in occasionally hilarious exchanges and goes maybe 42 percent crazy … Johnson is as skilled as ever at balancing menace against ecstasy, civilization against wilderness. His prose tiptoes a tightrope between peace and calamity, and beneath all of the novella’s best moments, Johnson runs twin strains of tenderness and the threat of violence … The novella runs 116 pages, and you can turn all of those pages in 90 minutes. In that hour and a half the whole crimped, swirling, haunted life of Robert Grainier rattles through the forests of your mind like the whistle of the Spokane International he hears so often in his dreams.
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewTime Travel, like all of Gleick’s work, is a fascinating mash-up of philosophy, literary criticism, physics and cultural observation. It’s witty, pithy and regularly manages to twist its reader’s mind into those Gordian knots I so loved as a boy ... he employs time travel to initiate engrossing discussions of causation, fatalism, predestination and even consciousness itself ... If this new book can sometimes feel like a mind-smashing catalog of literary and filmic references to time travel, it’s also a wonderful reminder that the most potent time-traveling technology we have is also the oldest technology we have: storytelling.