PositiveNew York Journal of BooksFishman’s ending is both surprising and satisfying ... to make his stories convincing he has to get the details right, and despite the leaps of faith Fishman demands he provides more than enough correct details and well crafted figurative turns of phrase to convince most readers to go along with him—and those who do will be amply rewarded by this multidimensional and handsomely written debut novel.
MixedThe New York Journal of BooksVaclav and Lena, captures the slow, methodical thought processes of young children, the awkward diction of non-English speaking immigrants, and the hearts of its readers with a tale of unconditional love; of attachment, separation, and reunion; and of trauma and healing ... There appears a seeming dumbing down with the excessive repetition that is more like young adult than adult fiction.
Dror Burstein, Trans. by Gabriel Levin
PositiveNew York Journal of Books\"If the biblical text is the score of a Broadway musical, Burstein’s text is a modern jazz musician’s improvisatory interpretation that maintains the original chord structure ... Burstein’s prose likewise juxtaposes biblical Hebrew with contemporary Israeli Hebrew, and in Gabriel Levin’s excellent translation contemporary English is interspersed with scriptural style and usage ... readers will enjoy this funny, imaginative, and handsomely crafted novel ... Muck will whet its readers’ appetites for future translations of Burstein’s 11 other books of prose fiction, poetry, criticism, and children’s literature not yet available in English.\
William H. Gass
PositiveNew York Journal of BooksKnown as a writer’s writer, the late William H. Gass ...was the author of challenging, sometimes experimental fiction and eloquent, erudite literary essays composed in mellifluous, poetic prose that reads well out loud ... According to Gass a total aesthete reduces everything to style; the centrality of moral and ethical issues in his writing proves that Gass is not merely an aesthete. Whether or not they agree with him his readers will never be cognitively malnourished, and his poetic prose is a joy to read even when its vision is pessimistic.
Veronica Gerber Bicecci, Trans. by Christina MacSweeney
PositiveNew York Journal of BooksVeronica Gerber Bicecci’s debut novel, second book and her first translated into English, Empty Set (Conjunto vacío), has multiple dualities—the verbal and the visual, the analytic and the emotional, autobiography and fiction—that aspire to convey ineffable sums greater than their constituent parts ... Empty Set invites its readers to both approach its imagery empathically and simultaneously view it with critical perspective. Fans of elliptical experimental fiction will welcome the challenge.