RaveEvening Standard (UK)To encourage us to have another look, Miller has had the excellent idea of talking us through nine of Keats’s most famous poems and carefully unpicking some of the ideas and images in them, while giving the story of his life a shake-up at the same time ... Having the nine poems reproduced in the text is really useful, and encourages you to read them differently ... Ultimately it challenges us to make up our own minds about the self-styled ‘chamelion poet’.
MixedEvening Standard (UK)... a strange and fascinating story of a battle of wills ... just as violence is always bubbling beneath the surface in this novel, so is a raucous kind of social comedy, made all the funnier by M\'s deadpan delivery ... Right from the start of the novel, though, there\'s something weird going on, with M\'s constant address of the story to someone called \'Jeffers\', whose identity and relationship to the narrator is never revealed ... I wanted either more explanation of the significance of all this, or not to have had it hinted at me at all. How much is Cusk’s L hers, and how much Luhan’s? Does meta matter? Here, it distracts from the parts which seem unique to Cusk: the evocation of place, the shrewd and tender depiction of M’s relationship with her daughter and the unflinching analysis of relations between the sexes, where \'so much of power lies in the ability to see how willing other people are to give it to you.\'
RaveThe Evening Standard (UK)... another slam dunk ... this is a book of and for the times, sobering in its clarity but bracingly witty and clever ... Smith has her finger on the pulse of life and the utter weirdness of whatever has just become normal ... Why has she waited all this time to write short? It’s the perfect form for someone with so many ideas and a playful streak: even at her most meta-fictional she can keep a light hand ... People half-complain about Smith having become an American from living in New York but what they’re probably clocking is her very un-English voraciousness ... And inside each of her crafty fictions, you always find what seem like real people, behaving with startling individuality and naturalness.
RaveEvening Standard (UK)Her ruminations always get cerebral but are based on brilliant bits of observation, as in her piece on driving ... Her intensity can be infectious (her appraisal of Lawrence’s The Rainbow, for instance, makes one want to grab it back off the shelf immediately) and her obsessions instructive. Whether writing fiction or non-fiction, Cusk can’t stop thinking about narrative ... Cusk is someone whose intelligence naturally complicates issues rather than simplifies them, and who, amused and helpless, is compelled to report back to us from the unique perspective of herself.
RaveThe Guardian[This] book does much to document and try to make sense of the suddenly urgent issue of gender fluidity and discrimination, its confusions and challenges ... The narrative winds towards Stefánie’s sudden lapse into dementia, a predicament quite brilliantly described by Faludi not as the usual 'bleeding away of identity' but as the opposite, 'an onrush of all that she had been, all that she had experienced, suffered, fled.' It is the sad last chord of a painful story, for though Faludi’s remarkable, moving and courageous book is extremely fair-minded all the way through, she only ever finds the frailest signs of warmth in her larger-than-life parent.