RaveThe Guardian (UK)Set among the villages, forests and rivers of the Pyrenees, the book builds a layered history of the area while focusing primarily on one family ... This democratic approach to storytelling works remarkably well. The chapter told from the perspective of the dog is one of the best: funny, intimate and sad. The witches we hear from are enjoyably cackling and foul ... an out-of-town hiker is superbly patronising ... Other sections are slightly less good. Hilari, in particular, hasn’t much to say except effusive slogans ... Solà’s prose, excellently translated from the original Catalan, is expansive and tactile. Her sentences accumulate, running along, taking in as much as possible, senses alert ... There are numerous memorable moments of deeply felt contact—with the landscape, with animals, or between people ... Solà convincingly implicates everyone in the quickening pace of history and environmental decline; there are apocalyptic warnings. Will they be heeded? In the meantime, this attentive, playful, responsive novel makes an excellent case for stopping and listening.
Adrian Nathan West
RaveThe Guardian (UK)... slim, sad, comic and sharply observed ... The minor characters are eye-catching, too ... West, a superb translator by profession – his translation of When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamín Labatut was shortlisted for the International Booker prize – writes surgically precise prose. The young man notes his father’s verbal quirks and describes his peculiar gait with the detachment of a doctor examining his patient ... West’s achievement, in this subtle and delightful book, is to have rendered failure in strikingly handsome terms.
PositiveThe Spectator (UK)Cohen is at his best with chaotic, everyone-shouting-at-once set pieces ... The Netanyahus, like Cohen’s previous novels, is driven by the momentum of its prose. It has a freewheeling, all-consuming style which frequently turns up unexpected delights. There are nicely odd verbs ... There are vivid similes ... Slowing things down are a series of lectures on Zionism. Dour and rambling, they interrupt the narrative, much as Netanyahu darkens the door of Blum. This is intentionally wearisome, but wearisome nonetheless. Fortunately, this is a surprising novel, full of quirks and explosive moments, and, all in all, Dr Netanyahu proves a welcome guest.
PositiveThe Guardian (UK)[A] collection of eight contemporary ghost stories, with the horror stemming from the irresistible power that technology has over us. In real life we are obsessed, distracted, impolite, floating through a world of unravelling human bonds and never-ending notifications. Could fiction be worse? ... The stories are uneasy rather than frightening ... He is also socially alert; the tensions and disconnections of modern families are nicely illuminated. Lanchester conjures a sad shadow world all the more scary for being a mirror image of our own. These entertainments are brisk, vinegar-sharp satires that horrify and amuse in equal measure; an alarming reality check. Like a lesson in etiquette, it’s good medicine.