RaveNPR... a collection of thorned, blood-red roses that make beauty out of [Hemon\'s] broken past ... The final essay — concerning his daughter\'s brain tumor and the many operations and transfusions that led up to her death — is the most compelling. In fact, it\'s one of the most moving pieces I have ever read. What could have been dangerously sentimental is instead a brutal meditation on life and suffering. I usually think of myself as emotionally shielded. I rarely allow myself to cry, but this essay slashed through my defenses. I chafed my eyes roughing away so many tears ... You should read Aleksandar Hemon\'s memoir for the same reason you should read his fiction: He is not only a remarkably talented writer but also one of the great social observers, a cultural anthropologist who seems at home everywhere and nowhere and who balances despair with hope, anger with humor.
PositiveThe New York Times Sunday Book Review...as compact and powerful as a footlocker full of ammo … The novel moves, fitfully, through Virginia and Iraq and Germany and New Jersey and Kentucky, from 2003 to 2009. Recalling the war, Bartle says, is ‘like putting a puzzle together from behind: the shapes familiar, the picture quickly fading, the muted tan of the cardboard backing a tease at wholeness and completion.’ This serves the story…[as] the fractured structure replicates the book’s themes. Like a chase scene made up of sentences that run on and on and ultimately leave readers breathless, or like a concert description that stops and starts, that swings and sways, that makes us stamp our feet and clap our hands — the nonlinear design of Powers’s novel is a beautifully brutal example of style matching content. War destroys.
Erik Axl Sund
PanThe New York Times Book ReviewI’m a callused reader. There’s not much that bothers me. But I felt exhaustedly repulsed by The Crow Girl. The graphic depictions of sexual violence — much of it directed at children — kept piling up until I had to go for a run in the sun or race to the multiplex to watch Finding Dory, anything to dilute the nastiness ... The Crow Girl made me want to wash my eyes out with bleach before leaping off the nearest skyscraper.
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewSebastian Rudd is a kind of social justice warrior, and Grisham uses him to take jabs at the legal system. He points out the mass incarceration of black men. He dresses down trigger-happy cops who come armed with tanks and assault rifles. He damns the judges and district attorneys who want to secure their legacy, even if that means putting away the wrong person. And this is all expressed with a blunt, rude, gravelly poetic wiseguy voice that makes Rudd come across as a kind of 21st-century Philip Marlowe ... Rogue Lawyer bears more resemblance to some of the best serial narratives on television. In a few years, if it shows up on FX or HBO, I’ll be the first to tune in, just as I’ll be the first to pick up any future novels starring Rudd.