RaveThe Guardian (UK)The Guest has a deceptively simple premise, and its achievement is to wring much nuance, tension and contradiction from it. It is a novel of precarity and excess ... Cline uses the metaphorical possibilities of water, pools and beaches deftly. These are conspicuous leitmotifs that, because of their symbolic richness, never feel overdetermined ... Contradictory impulses enrich a character who is both insightful and naive but also strangely spectral and blank ... Cements Cline’s place as one of America’s great contemporary stylists.
PositiveFinancial Times (UK)Unsurprisingly, for readers of the endlessly resourceful Everett, a writer often described as \'uncategorizable\' because of his diverse oeuvre and experimentation with genre and form, The Trees is difficult to describe in these terms. Just as it draws from established modes including Southern gothic, hard-boiled detective fiction and even the buddy-cop comedy, it also eschews fundamental elements of these modes, and of the novel generally ... a perverse comic element ... The novel’s depiction of a wide range of law enforcement officers builds a nuanced exploration of the ways policing has perpetuated white supremacy in America. In this, and in other ways, the “rising” that occurs in The Trees feels powerfully prescient, especially considering the waves of protest against police violence that followed the murder of George Floyd.
RaveThe Times Literary Supplement (UK)It is taut, affecting and typically idiosyncratic. At its heart is the wrenching story of a middle-aged couple dealing with the sudden onset of their adolescent daughter’s degenerative illness. But it is also a campus novel and a Trump-era, borderland thriller, and these unlikely modulations cohere in compelling fashion ... one of the author’s best novels, amid a welter of competition. It should be widely read. And so, more generally, should Percival Everett.
RaveThe Times Literary Supplement (UK)Majumdar’s debut novel arrives in the UK on a tide of effusive American reviews that have celebrated its \'propulsive\' plot, \'urgency\' and prescience in our turbulent contemporary moment. The book is certainly worthy of such praise, but these accounts haven’t quite caught the intellectual and emotional richness of this astonishing novel ... In this vividly twenty-first-century context, with fresh and exacting eyes, Majumdar takes up an old literary preoccupation: the nature of aspiration ... Majumdar dramatizes the aspiration for survival, dignity, pleasure and fame – all in sympathetic ways – while at the same time showing how it can lead to negative, even destructive outcomes in the context of structural inequality ... a novel of exceptional vision and craft. It offers a memorable portrait of Kolkata, a deeply moving human story, and provocative reflections on our times.