PanNew York Times Book ReviewStevens’s version of events peels away from fact like forlorn wallpaper ... Even as the characters grapple with revolutionary possibilities, the novel’s stylistic choices suggest an author entranced by the language of power. Stevens mistakes the manufactured obscurity of our financial system as profundity, diminishing the emotional truths of her characters by relying on metaphors of market capitalism to explain their inner worlds. The reader is left alienated instead of moved or galvanized ... Symbolic to a fault ... Stevens hesitates to step outside of the inherited framework, even in an effort to repurpose its dialect. The alternatives to the status quo are presented primarily as self-destructive.
Clarice Lispector, tr. Stefan Tobler
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewThe entire book is only a fragment. (This is less abstract than it sounds: Aren’t we all born into the middle of someone else’s life?) ... As always, Lispector’s plot bows to her form. This shard of language — reflective, serrated — is about a woman finding endlessness in the early morning, a warm body, the empty sea ... On the surface, An Apprenticeship elegantly translated here by Stefan Tobler, is an acute romance, between Lóri, a suicidal elementary schoolteacher, and her withholding, esoteric crush, a philosophy professor named Ulisses. But it is also a spiritual treatise, a didactic dialogue between not-yet lovers ... Lispector unravels existential knots within the daily tangles of femininity ... Lispector’s writing is like glass: granular detail turned to liquid under impossible heat, and then hardened and crystallized into a wet, new thing.
RaveBookforumLockwood splits her novel down its center but never severs the connection between the two parts, like strands of river knotted at the same source. She says goodbye, but nothing leaves ... I’m not sure what reading this book would be like if I didn’t understand most of the references. But, of course, this is what novels do: I can read about a place I have never been, while others are reading about their hometown. The words are the same, and what they mean is different ... Writing about being online is a bit like writing about reading a novel, in the sense that it is language in concentric circles ... Lockwood not only follows the circles out to their youngest brim, she also returns to the point of contact that set them in motion, and then she pushes it further: not the ax, but the seed. I think she pulls it off partly because she is not trying to write about what the internet is or does, but how it feels. She has managed to write a book about how it feels to be online ... Ultimately, No One Is Talking About This is a stunning record of the hollows and wonders of language itself ... Chaos begets chaos, which somehow will beget coherence.
RaveBookforumCarson—legendary poet, classicist, heartbreaker—is known for her eviscerating ability to take myth and move it into a local hotel, without ever letting the divine implications of the story waver. Actually, Carson’s restaging only enlivens. She allows her ancient characters to stretch their legs, broaden their breath, after a long, crowded journey to the present ... Norma Jeane Baker of Troy takes the permanently doubled nature of womanhood seriously, as an emotional condition rather than a narrative device. We already knew there was more than one Marilyn ... Euripides took the dominant opinion that women are not really real literally, forgiving Helen by extension. Carson sits with this imposed unreality and its consequences, refusing purity by allowing her character to exist in multiplicity without accusing her of deceit ... The writing glows in...sections, wry, brutal, spacious.