RaveThe RingerSlowly—though a little more quickly than Piranesi himself—we deduce what the house is and why he lives in it. (Without spoiling the explanation, I can say it includes some of the most beautiful thinking about magic that I’ve ever encountered in a fantasy novel.) At times, the tick-tick-tick of information makes the plot seem a little too easy. Once Piranesi starts looking into his past, the journey to the solution occasionally seems to be on rails, with new discoveries arriving reliably regardless of what Piranesi does, or whether he does anything at all. In fairness, there’s a kind of classical elegance to this unfolding that echoes the structure of the many-halled House, and if Piranesi seems to make the quest for truth less arduous than a good detective novel, the novel is also required to solve a much knottier mystery. A dead body in a locked room is one thing; 13 dead bodies in a mansion sealed off from reality and containing an indoor sea is something else. And unlike in most detective novels, the answers in Piranesi are every bit as satisfying as the questions.
RaveThe New Yorker...[a] dizzyingly pleasurable new history of Oklahoma City ... Anderson’s book wants to convince you that the capital of America’s forty-sixth state is the most secretly fascinating place on earth ... Anderson writes brilliant alternating sequences on Clara Luper, Oklahoma City’s forgotten civil-rights icon, and Stanley Draper, the deliberately anonymous Chamber of Commerce director ... The effect of the cross-cutting structure is to turn the story of Oklahoma City into a kind of giddy Jenga tower, a mismatched jumble of fascinations. Since that is precisely what Oklahoma City is, this works. Anderson conveys not only the factual data about boom-and-bust cycles in the energy industry but the feeling of a city defined by them ... Boom Town is a dazzling urban history, which is precisely what it sets out to be ... Anderson writes beautifully about the human beings he encounters, both living and dead. A minute-by-minute account of the Oklahoma City bombing left me almost in tears.