PositiveThe New York Times Book Review... a very good novel about a very bad man ... is least satisfying when it comes to the terrible things Victor has done, the details of which are teased and promised and hinted at and revealed a little at a time, whereas I think they’d have been more terrifying if they’d just been stated outright, so that we could fully appreciate how they’ve affected everyone else ... the novel’s through line in lesser hands this might be static. But Attenberg gets so deep into the psyches of her characters that the story ends up seeming electric with ruin, and with possible resurrection ... is full of hope — but...the novel is most powerful when it’s in honest open battle with that which makes hope so difficult in the first place.
RaveThe Boston Globe\"I can think of no other novel that so expertly illuminates that empty, middle-aged feeling when even marital bitterness and filial pride fails us ... one of the pleasures of this novel is watching Eve try to discover what she wants to be. And what she ends up wanting to be is a woman who — much to her surprise — watches a lot of online pornography. This is Perrotta at his best: Where other writers would turn to satire, or outrage, or a deep dive attempt to shock-and-awe the reader, Perrotta empathizes ... If I’m making this novel sound as if it’s obsessed with sex, that’s because it is — agreeably so. I say agreeably because Perrotta is a contrarian: He knows how and why a writer should celebrate a thing that often gets condemned, and then how and why to shut down the celebration when it gets out of hand. This is why he’s one of our best comic writers: because of the way he balances light and dark.\
RaveThe Boston Globe...learning about their mutual and divergent historical paths is one of the pleasures of Valiant Gentlemen ... That the novel can be so despairingly honest about a writer’s limitations while still be so entertaining says a lot about Murray’s considerable talent ... It as much a novel about the joys and difficulties of friendship as it is about the larger historical events that have thrown these two particular friends together and that also threaten to tear them apart.
RaveThe Boston Globe...no one else could have written The Sellout but Paul Beatty. And readers should be ecstatic he did ... the riffs are so smart, so tough-minded and irreverent that the reader (at least this reader) doesn’t miss the charms of a more conventionally plotted novel ... If there’s a problem in The Sellout it’s that there are so many of these moments, and the moments are so rhetorically and referentially antic, that it’s perhaps tempting to overlook or undervalue the incredible sadness and seriousness at the heart of this terrific novel ... the first person narrator’s quest to find out who he is is a classic trope of the modern American novel, but rarely has it been it executed as thrillingly as it is in The Sellout.”
PositiveThe Boston GlobeSpiotta’s risks do pay off, though, and this is how and why: because her characters are so self-conscious about the perils and joys of friendship and filmmaking and about understanding how the stories one sees on the screen come to influence — and at times, infect — the story one tells to, and about, oneself. Life imitates art — we’ve been told this so many times that it must be true. But it is noted much less often that before life can imitate art, art has to imitate art. I know of no other novel so obsessed with dramatizing this truth, no other novel whose tensest moments (and Innocents and Others is full of tense moments) occur when an artist is desperately trying to figure out how to steal from someone else’s film to make her own.