RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewNguyen’s narrative strikes a very elusive balance: vast in scale and ambition, while luscious and inviting — enchanting, really — in its intimacy ... Nguyen has created a revolving triptych of characters who, despite their closeness, or maybe even as a result of it, remain a paradox to one another ... The specter of that water looms heavy as time passes, but as Nguyen guides us through the decades into the 2000s he never shows his hand; he lets readers wind their own internal clocks. The result is both inviting and jolting. Nguyen’s characters exist within New Orleans’s myths — of mystery, splendor, pleasure — until they become inextricable from those narratives themselves ... The narrative structure changes subtly as the family’s years in New Orleans accumulate, but still the emotional tethers remain palpable. Nguyen is especially gifted at crafting a sense of longing, and the arc of Ben’s queer story line is sure-footed and poignant ... It’s a rare novel that conveys the vertigo of a journey without demystifying its individual turns, but Nguyen is an able captain, and the path he charts for us is illuminating. The tide ebbs and flows, but it does eventually, inevitably, return.
ed. Jesmyn Ward
RaveThe Los Angeles Review of BooksThe Fire This Time is exactly what we need to bolster our grief. It’s a space no one should have to had create, a space nobody should need to inhabit, but wishful thinking has never deterred necessity. We need what we need ... Ward has created a vehicle for dark and darker voices. Some of them squinting. All of them ambivalent. Strains of ordinary perseverance in extraordinary times gain velocity here.