RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewSoysal’s last completed novel and crowning literary achievement ... The ingenuity of Dawn lies in its chorus of wounded, weary, angry voices from all corners of Turkish society ... No one is spared the narrator’s roving curiosity, and everyone, even the police officers who browbeat and torture their detainees, turns out to be vulnerable and complex ... vivid dialogue ... That Soysal’s work is often categorized as Turkish coup literature sometimes detracts from the breadth of her literary creativity and unapologetic feminism ... daringly explicit about the tribulations of the female body, from accounts of sexual assault in prison to the shame women feel about menstruation. Their learned humiliation is likened to the suppression of thoughts and political beliefs, linking censorship of the body to censorship of the mind ... Freely’s translation is clean, colloquial and confident. I like how she sometimes preserves the flavor of the Turkish original by translating idioms literally ... Besides exposing the disillusionment and exhaustion of the Turkish left, Dawn articulates the difficulty of a fresh start, or, as Mustafa puts it, \'how we did our best to pick up the pieces of our despised selves and mend them as best we could\'.
MixedThe New York Times Book ReviewBrennan draws on an imposing array of material to write the first comprehensive portrait of one of America’s most distinguished postwar intellectuals ... Yet in recording the mile-wide scope of Said’s influences, the book at times comes off as merely an inch deep. Several ideas Brennan introduces — why we should look to poetry as opposed to fiction as the key to Said’s intellectual formation, for example — are subsequently abandoned, like an undeveloped roll of film ... Said was famously not one for acolytes and disciples, and it is good that Brennan is willing to read Said against Said ... While brimming with this kind of detail, Places of Mind is strangely cursory in other ways. Critical Saidian concepts, such as filiation and affiliation, flicker into view, assuming an unwarranted familiarity. Brennan often proposes suggestive angles only to dispose of them abruptly, as when he glosses over Said’s intellectual engagement with feminism. Part of the problem may be Said’s prolificness, his leaping eclecticism and relentless energy ... Without quite succeeding, Places of Mind aims to capture the thick Rolodex of names that steered Said as he developed those insights.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewThe level of detail [Warren] marshals is impressive, if sometimes overwhelming in its granularity. Her greater achievement, however, is her portrait of the tension among art, faith and sexuality in the life of a man Gertrude Stein once said had a \'poet soul\' ... Over the course of Max Jacob, Warren wears many hats — translator, critic, chronicler — to resuscitate a richly contradictory figure and to give him a seat at the table.