RaveNPRBlasim\'s fantasies are of a distinctly Arab cast, jinnis and devils at every turn ... In The Corpse Exhibition, the war is always present, explicitly or in metaphor. The war is an oubliette from which there is no escape. The war is a dream that follows refugees to Europe, kills them after they have changed their names and left their old life behind. Blasim is an Iraqi Kafka with a touch of Edgar Allan Poe thrown in, and his pen spares no one who commits atrocities, Americans and Iraqis alike.
RaveNPR...a thoroughly delightful and entertaining new book on jellyfish ... Spineless is part travelogue, part memoir, part deep-dive (literally) into the world of jellyfish, and Berwald brings a genuine sense of wonder to the topic. She is a former science textbook writer, but don't be alarmed. Berwald puts that experience to the best possible use, deploying a range of analogies to explain complex marine science for the rest of us ... Berwald isn't writing a lean-in manifesto. Instead, she's doing something more universal, yet subtle. This is the story of looking back from a certain age and a certain place and assessing how you got there, how your life turned out the way it did, and finding peace in that — but also motivation to return to the passions of youth.
PositiveThe Washington PostThe soldiers are foulmouthed, sex-obsessed and fiercely loyal for reasons they can’t quite articulate — in other words, packed with young American male authenticity. Abrams’s prose is relaxed and conversational, with a few scattered literary nuggets that add heft, like chunks of beef in a vegetable soup ... In the climactic final scene, though, Abrams attempts to braid thematic strands of death and rebirth and religious communion, never quite attaining the emotional heights to which he aspires. But the central irony — that this funeral is more important to them than any mission their squad has undertaken — remains front and center. In the Iraq War, we veterans eventually realized that they were killing us mostly because we were killing them, and the reverse as well. It’s a cycle cruelly laid bare in Brave Deeds, where Abrams reminds us that death always begets more death.
RaveThe Daily BeastCrabapple is smart and wicked and wicked smart, a master of imagery and perception, and so her art always works on multiple levels. So too the book. She’s not afraid to provide contradictory thoughts and feelings, even on the same page, but it’s more than that.