RaveThe New York Times... extraordinary ... a haunting collection of loosely linked vignettes that quickly exploded the tropes I’d associated with writing about place ... As the novel gains momentum these lives and others begin subtly intertwining — David Mitchell-like — until the gears behind Lewis’s narrative reveal themselves, and a kind of ethos emerges from the urban cacophony: We are all connected in our disconnection, our solitude, our heartache, our longing. We are united by the city, which gives and takes indiscriminately, and in the end outlives us all...I don’t mean to sound a down note; there are hardly any to sound. Ghosts of New York is a wondrous novel, with prose that sparkles like certain sidewalks after rain ... Lewis’s sentences read like events, and his eye for the smallest detail is exquisite ... If the effect can seem disconcerting at first, it feels, by the end of the book, all but inevitable, as if the story could be told no other way ... That’s it, I thought. That’s exactly what it’s like to live in New York.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewTo be transported, wholesale, into a new and unfamiliar world is one of literature’s great gifts, and the opening pages of David Hopen’s ambitious debut novel, The Orchard, promise exactly that ... Hopen is a stylish, atmospheric writer whose characters inhabit sensuous tableaus, and the palpable dreariness that lingers over Ari’s solitary Brooklyn childhood is all-encompassing ... Ari’s once-engaging story line — steeped in very real questions of morality and devotion — is subsumed by long pages of arcane, hyper-intellectual teenage discussions of the kind that make one relieved to be firmly entrenched in adulthood. Indeed, the second half of the novel reads like the literary equivalent of a mood board, stuffed full of overlapping ideas and asides, plots and tangents — part thriller, part religious inquiry, part love story, and part Tarttian homage. Hopen packs in so much that The Orchard, which began as heightened realism, soon pushes well beyond the point of plausibility. Perhaps, then, it is a story about faith after all. And the lesson, for a writer like Hopen, would be not to lose it. His talent is evident, his knowledge abundant. But one word has eluded him: streamlining.