RaveUSA TodayDear Life, Alice Munro\'s exquisitely calibrated collection of stories, celebrates the essence of existence, no matter how mundane ... consistently clear-eyed, nuanced and enthralling ... Though her compelling tales take place within the past 70 years, they are never nostalgic — not even at their most personal ... She dances between intimacy and distance in her precise observations, and the reader skitters along to keep pace. Munro starts from the premise that the human condition is mysterious, actions often inexplicable and motivations frequently left unexamined ... Not every story is shattering. Munro writes as movingly about the prosaic as she does the momentous ... Her prose is spare, graceful and beautifully crafted, her vision expansive. What Munro does with a story is like alchemy.
MixedUSA TodayThe Light in the Ruins elucidates, haunts and raises moral quandaries ...those aspects don't come together smoothly enough to make Chris Bohjalian's 15th novel the fascinating page-turner it aspires to be ... For long passages, the book offers a glimpse of intriguing, lesser-known aspects of World War II ... The family's wartime activities grow increasingly morally complex as the story unspools. These sections are the best pieces of the novel ... The novel's plotting is stronger than the writing, which is often repetitive and in need of better editing ... As a whodunit, the story is at its least effective. Bohjalian offers a few too many clues, and the conclusion is anti-climactic.
PositiveUSA Today...Michel Faber's The Book of Strange New Things uses intergalactic travel and planet colonization as a backdrop, even a mechanism, to explore complicated emotional terrain ... physical setting of the novel is otherworldly. But the most salient environment in Faber's story is one readers will find familiar: a marriage at a crossroads ... Peter is a Christian minister who has come to spread the word of God to the Oasans. He is also deeply in love with his supportive wife Bea. We learn that they both applied for the mission, but only Peter was accepted to make the journey by the shadowy corporation that runs things on Oasis ... A bit more development of the back stories of Peter's human counterparts might have enhanced the reader's connection with these characters ...an emotionally wrenching drama of a couple separated by vast distance, struggling to understand one another.
RaveUSA TodayWhile statistics are woven throughout, and legal maneuvering is covered precisely, Krakauer artfully keeps the book from becoming a compendium of troubling facts ... In another context, some graphic details could be seen as salacious, but nothing here is written to titillate. In fact, quite the opposite. Krakauer's precise language serves only to further bolster his book's stark premise. It's an important, difficult and timely subject that needs to be handled carefully.