RaveHarper\'s...epic and exhilarating, foul and touching ... It is a remarkable accomplishment. As a confessional outpouring by a man trying to face his responsibility for all he has done wrong, it will shake your soul with vicarious grief. Its depictions of combat and addiction are carefully drawn and horrifyingly immediate, almost reportorial in detail ... his book is unaccountably fun to read—a page-flipper of a tragedy ... The narrator describes the ghoulish effects of an IED blast in extraordinary, vivid language that is among the best war writing I’ve ever read ... Walker writes, in the first person, like someone talking naturally, unselfconsciously. He doesn’t watch himself. He flows ... The move from humor to poignant ache—with an edge of desperation—happens smoothly ... The complexity of the relationship between hero and heroine makes the novel endlessly troubling, morbidly fascinating. To what extent is each of them guilty of or complicit in his or her own destruction?
RaveThe Wall Street JournalMs. Hilgers’s book begins like a Cold War thriller. It’s 2013, and Mr. Zhuang is contemplating desperate means for escaping China, including crossing the Pacific by fishing boat to Guam. But his actual journey to the U.S. is an anticlimactic plane trip with his wife by his side, each bearing passports and visas, in the company of a tour group. The interest of their story isn’t in physical adventure but in the window it opens onto what real-world immigration is like ... Patriot Number One is a well-researched, informative look at the realities of Chinese immigration. It also depicts one man’s battle to figure out who he is. I don’t know if Ms. Hilgers planned it this way, but this is what I liked most about her excellent book.