RaveChicago Review of Books...what makes it a powerful book—and indeed, I think of it as among Murnane’s two or three best—is its concision and the delicacy with which it renders its connections ... Murnane never lets us forget for long that we are reading something written, and he never lets us get far from the process of that writing ... Border Districts has found more of a balance. For me, Barley Patch has compelling, even glorious moments, but Border Districts builds quietly and slowly and unexpectedly from beginning to end ... It demands to be read in a way different than we normally read fiction; the more of Murnane’s work you read, the more you see the nuance of it, and the more satisfying it is.
RaveBookforumWhat makes this novel so effective is its ability to use genre tropes in a way that doesn’t neglect (or mischaracterize) the race or class or everyday experiences of its protagonists ... In addition to invigorating the naturalist novel by infusing it with horror, LaValle introduces contemporary phone and app technology into his increasingly strange story. That’s been done before...But The Changeling digs deeper, providing subtle commentary about larger issues of computer security, access, and privacy ... Nobody is better at combining daily struggles and the supernatural than LaValle, and in helping us understand the convergences between the 99 percent and the things that go bump in the night. In such a city, fairy-tale endings no longer work. But even if there is no happily ever after here, we can still find a fugitive joy. LaValle’s respect for love and the domestic provides a nice counterpoint to the darkness that threatens to overwhelm these characters, without lessening the threat at the story’s heart.
RaveElectric LiteratureWhat makes the book appealing is not so much that it’s inspiring or that it depicts a VH1 nightmare descent: it’s more a desire to see how Roberge will or won’t bring all the book’s different threads together. He does so delicately, constructing a kind of airy, shimmering structure crisscrossed with ligatures, with events expanded or retold or speaking to other similar events from one end of the book to the other.