RaveSan Francisco ChronicleWiener’s book transcends the model of a tech-work memoir; ultimately, she’s chronicling her interior climate in opposition to quotidian surroundings that she finds essentially bizarre ... Uncanny Valley is instantly mesmerizing ... Her book mines questions of self-definition within the context of the technology industry in San Francisco ... Throughout the memoir, Wiener sustains a piercing tone of crisp, arch observation. It’s revelatory to see her navigate the subjects one generally reads about in newspaper headlines, about sexism at Google or the unregulated forums behind events such as Pizzagate ... Her memoir encapsulates our moment’s moral — and stylistic — uncertainty about techno-libertarianism, utopianism and startup jargon. Is this how we want the world to look and sound? ... I’m glad a lover of literary fiction unleashed herself from customer success management to reporting on technology.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewPopkey’s sentences careen breathlessly as her halting, staccato prose mirrors the \'churning\' within the narrator’s mind—the pulsing interior dialogue, the em-dash-laden reasoning back and forth with herself. Narrative agency is what interests the author, her manner of parceling out information evoking at times the fragmentary and diaristic sensibilities of Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation. Her style also conjures the rambling (and occasionally solipsistic) meditations on self-definition in Sheila Heti’s How Should a Person Be?, and aspires to reproduce the rhythm of spoken communication in Linda Rosenkrantz’s 1968 novel-in-dialogue, Talk ... Popkey presents us with a shrewd record of the act of unflinchingly circling these amorphous notions of pain, desire and control, all the while quietly noting their clichéd contrivances in snarky, dark humor. I liked being inside her mind; it felt natural. She doesn’t arrive at a totalizing, liberated endpoint. The most we can do is listen to her story.
PositiveSan Francisco Chronicle... Orner...has a deep literary attachment to the quotidian, \'which isn’t ordinary—no, not at all.\' Not when you really think about it, as Orner does across his new collection ... Orner writes with a combination of sincerity and self-awareness. He takes a subtle tone of empathy toward his characters’ ambitions by acknowledging how simultaneously unremarkable and wrenching their lives feel ... Orner’s characters are conscious of unfurling their own stories, determined to do so, yet also aware of the relative futility of the endeavor ... the book is in its totality most vividly reminiscent of Raymond Carver[.]
PanThe New RepublicAnolik chooses to mythologize Babitz as Babitz mythologizes herself, writing more as a disciple than as a journalist ... Anolik falls at times into a pseudo-emulation of the lyrical and discursive—diverting, even—aspects of Babitz’s prose ... Anolik calls her book a \'love story\' about Babitz. There is no pretense of objectivity ... Embraced fully, this sort of biography—a send-up of the absurdity and impossibility of biography itself—is genre of its own. But Anolik verges on idolatry: She even puts off reading Babitz’s Jim Morrison piece lest she find out that she disagrees with her beloved subject. The pitfall here is that though Anolik fills in lively background and context, a more compelling narrative emerges from Babitz’s own memoiristic writing. Anolik too frequently gets waylaid thinking about her own role as Babitz’s interlocutor, and in Babitz’s resurgence ... Anolik’s book includes a lengthy discussion of Babitz versus Joan Didion, a rambling comparison that is only instructive in how it elucidates the frequently tenuous position that Babitz occupied as a writer ... Anolik expresses her odd personal dislike of Didion—her \'homicidal designs\' against her own personality and her \'cynical\' and \'silly, shallow\' novel—because she wants to canonize Babitz as Didion’s replacement.
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review\"Nemett’s book swerves between speculative coming-of-age fiction, a superhero story and an apocalyptic campus novel ... But I begrudgingly found the sincerities of both Nemett and his characters refreshing in their vulnerability ... Nemett captures a group whose unfettered exuberance is seldom found in today’s novels. There’s no final act in which they’re heroically rescued by self-awareness; the group remains forever \'masters of denial, impervious to reality.\'\
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review\"Severance offers blatant commentary on \'dizzying abundance\' and unrelenting consumption, evolving into a semi-surreal sendup of a workplace and its utopia of rules, not unlike Joshua Ferris’s Then We Came to the End. Ma revivifies this model ... In its most lucid moments, Severance evokes traces of, if not Meghan Daum in her \'misspent youth,\' then the essay \'Goodbye to All That,\' when a young and equally bemused Joan Didion looks at gleaming kitchens through brownstone windows, considering New York not as a place of residence but as a romantic notion...\
PositiveLos Angeles Review of BooksMartin evokes the cliché-ridden speech of Peter’s group without surrendering to it ... Peter’s contradictory disposition makes him a shrewd narrator — he inhabits the precarious Venn diagram between wit and earnestness, skulking back and forth between pseudo-passion and total indifference ... The plot of the novel itself is neither remarkable nor particularly inventive ... Early Work is at least loosely entangled in the tradition of autofiction ... while Peter may occasionally be at least desultorily solipsistic, Martin is keenly aware of the pitfalls of Peter’s self-awareness ... It’s this possibility of words unlocking the world that Peter chases, and that Martin deftly captures.