RaveThe Miami HeraldI applaud Gay’s courage: she writes candidly, vividly and necessarily about an emotionally exhausting subject that might turn off faint-hearted readers. Thankfully she provides respite from the horror, in the form of the pleasant memories that Mireille clings to, to keep from losing her mind … Gay acknowledges the role a despairing society has in growing these monsters; the poverty, the neglect, etc. But to her credit, not for one instance does she excuse their actions … In the second half of An Untamed State, Gay shines. This is an unforgettable look at a rape survivor struggling (and largely failing) to cope with the aftermath of her trauma.
PositiveMiami HeraldEngel’s novel reaffirms her talent, which was first displayed in her story collection Vida, and which has grown with each succeeding book (she’s also the author of the novel It’s Not Love, It’s Just Paris). Her style was originally stripped-down, more bone than flesh. But novels encourage you to indulge your appetite for words. Engel’s voice is lyrical, in a no-nonsense sort of way. Her descriptive powers have improved greatly; she has an all-seeing eye that misses nothing of importance for the reader. Her themes are richer, too. Engel demonstrates a finely textured comprehension of the wretched of the earth, which she neither idealizes nor pities...At around midpoint the pace turns sluggish. You may feel discouraged; have patience, the speed will pick up again.
MixedThe Miami HeraldStrange Gods will warm the hearts of atheists, but the faithful may recoil at its anti-clericalism. Christians who come out looking good here are the Quakers, and that is probably because they aren’t particularly aggressive proselytizers. Jacoby has nice things to say about the Convivencia, the period of Muslim influence in Spain when different faiths lived together in relative harmony; but at the end she appears to blame Islamic terrorism on Islam.
MixedThe Miami Herald...a modestly satisfying grab bag of pet peeves and enthusiasms featuring the author’s puckish wit and inexhaustible intellect.
PanMiami HeraldWhile there are flashes of brilliance, the narrative gets bogged down with repetitive ideas, dull patches and a confusing structure. Rushdie is a born storyteller with a seemingly inexhaustible storehouse of knowledge, but sometimes his postmodern antics and exuberant language are not conducive to easy, pleasurable reading.