RaveLos Angeles Review of BooksA product of many years, the result is a searing, meticulously detailed account of the deportation of the Chagossian people and their struggles in Mauritius ... One of Patel’s great strengths is her ability to infuse the novel with a cornucopia of details about Chagossian culture, without the text ever feeling laden, forced, or academic ... Patel takes her time...in gorgeous prose ... the dissemination of the Chagossians’ story is a crucial way of ensuring that the struggle lives on.
RaveWildnessThis is only Mackintosh’s first novel, but her talent’s already fully-formed; a debut that places her among literature’s most exciting new voices ... measured, precise prose exacerbate[s] the characters’ pain and desire, their struggle for redemption and freedom ... exquisitely well-written ... The story has the spirit of a lucid fever dream, a timeless fable, though its concerns are deeply anchored in the real world ... though you can read the sisters through mythology—the Greek moirai, for instance—they are not elevated into myth; they are painfully, all-too-recognizably human, and they find their salvation in each other.
RaveRead WildnessRare is the author who so dexterously parts and peels consciousness. Rooney’s a masterful observer of embryonic adulthood: her prose is beautiful yet contained, it doesn’t ramble on ... Rooney has a brilliant knack of describing the ways in which young adults are often overwhelmed and horrified by their power over others; their reckless testing of the reach of that power; their grappling with the societal machinery that forges their psyche; their intense shame ... Normal People is a tale of love between two people of polar class differences.
RavewildnessA feast of language. It’s almost a torment—all to Daisy Johnson’s credit, of course—that Everything Under whisks you through the book by virtue of its stunning, clawing plot. You cannot put it down ... Anyone who’s ever lived on or near an English river will appreciate how meticulous Johnson captures its essence ... Johnson’s clever working of the English language is marvellous: she creates visceral affect by deftly playing with syntax ... a howl of female violence and rage.
R O Kwon
RavewildnessThe plot of R. O. Kwon’s The Incendiaries is as exceptional as her prose, unravelling in sensuous, time-bomb fashion ... Kwon’s talent is sensational: her character building is meticulous. Not for a moment does Phoebe—who exists only in recollections and in the notes she gives Will—become vaporous. Rare is the book that deals so well with losing (and finding) one’s faith; The Incendiaries is also a crucial novel of the #MeToo movement, exploring toxic masculinity and the way it is exerted by men in positions of power—preacher, boyfriend, father ... A tour de force début if there ever was one.
RaveElectric LiteratureOttessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation examines the late 1990s in all its late capitalist munificence, for sure, but it also prods, questions and ultimately uses the tropes of the literary movement of its time (post-postmodernism, headed by one of the age’s titans, David Foster Wallace) in order to infuse the novel with pathetic sincerity, or \'New Sincerity,\' as the movement would have it. New Sincerity prevents us from dismissing or mocking the narrator outright ... In fact, I think the book’s a double novel, a comment and analysis of both the late ‘90s and of 2016–2018 ... Crucially, I believe, she sleeps because she feels she has no agency, no power to cause any kind of change, since everything is determined by the market. She’s a reflection of her period’s concerns ... So if everything is meaningless, and art has been taken over by Wall Street, and linguistic expression itself is hypocritical—a posture of cynicism, or a posture of sincerity—what is left? It’s a question that strikes a metatextual chord, too—how exactly is Moshfegh going to tell this story of late capitalism without it seeming trite, without it being another example of Neiman-Marcus Nihilism? ... It’s comforting, in a way, to read a novel that indulges in such a fantasy at a time when retiring from the world was sort of acceptable, when neoliberalism—not fascism—was the menace of the day. Yet the epochal context of our reading can’t be escaped. You cannot separate the act of reading the novel in 2018 from the narrative that unfolds in 2000. Moshfegh has established the parallels between both periods so well, the connective tissue that sees one epoch emerge monstrously from the other.