PositivePittsburgh Post-GazetteFans of Shteyngart’s fiction will not be disappointed by the way he details his characters’ romantic encounters, expensive meals and professional anxieties during their stay ... There is also evidence that the author is trying to be kinder to his characters. They read and talk about Chekhov throughout the book, and Shteyngart’s style resembles Chekhov’s quiet nuance more than, say, Joseph Heller’s absurd satire, as was the case in his earlier novels ... About halfway through the book, the characters hear the news of George Floyd’s murder ... The author’s solution is to give his characters a happy ending ... This is a disappointing conclusion because it reminds me of how quickly we all move on from tragedies like police or school shootings and maybe even pandemics. But also because Our Country Friends contains building blocks for imagining a different kind of world. It just doesn’t develop them ... It seems, in other words, like an anti-Shteyngart novel. But also like a worthy aspiration for the author’s future work.
PositivePittsburgh Post-GazetteThe extended depiction of police brutality in the newly restored section makes Wright’s novel particularly urgent ... The novel’s full publication, then, may help us recognize this history more fully. The novel’s republication may also illuminate other continuities in Wright’s fiction, for example his interest in blending European philosophical movements with his experience as a Black American ... this new publication of The Man Who Lived Underground will even draw our attention to more constructive possibilities in Wright’s work.