PositiveThe New York Times Book Review\"... audacious ... In its construction, Leading Men is as intricately designed as a Lego kit. The pieces from which the novel is built snap together into a whole so redoubtably sound that by the time I finished reading it I almost believed John Horne Burns really had met Tennessee Williams in Portofino, that Anja Bloom really existed and that \'Call It Joy\' really was written by Williams rather than cannibalized from a \'flawed short story\' left over from Castellani’s days as an M.F.A. student. Engineering may be the aspect of novel writing that deserves the most praise and gets the least, and Castellani is a first-rate engineer. At its best, his novel not only exults in the historical synchronicities and proximities he has discovered but catches the reader up in its rapture. I only wish he had been bold enough to go further ... More problematically, when the time comes to carry through on his boldest inventions, the Testa del Lupo episode and \'Call It Joy,\' Castellani lets Williams get the better of him ... A worse misstep, I think, is his decision to incorporate \'Call It Joy\' into the novel, only to have his characters trash it.\
RaveThe Washington PostThe Lazarus Project, the masterful new novel from the Bosnian-American writer Aleksandar Hemon, opens with a passage that recalls the invocations of epic poetry...Alternating chapters give us the story of Lazarus\'s killing (the story Brik is writing) and the story of Brik\'s own journey in search of Lazarus. Then, as the novel progresses, these narratives begin, eerily, to merge. Characters from Brik\'s life — or versions of them — show up in Lazarus\'s story ...Hemon is as much a writer of the senses as of the intellect. He can be very funny: The novel is full of jokes and linguistic riffs that justify comparisons to Nabokov. And though the prose occasionally lapses into turgidity...he seems determined not to let his readers (particularly his American readers) escape the experience of war as a personal affront and a personal transformation.
MixedThe New York Times Book ReviewSo intensely televisual is this novel that in reviewing it, I’ve been unable to resist the temptation to cast it ... In contrast to the vast majority of contemporary novels I’ve read lately, I never found it boring. I appreciated the authority with which Glass led me through the highly politicized world of children’s literature, her detailed if overlong summaries of Mort Lear’s books, several of which I wished existed so that I could read them, the moments of insight and empathy that punctuate her narrative. And yet, for all that, I kept being reminded, as I read on and on, of the feeling I was left with after the retina-singeing weekend I spent binge-watching the first season of Downton Abbey — of being emptied out and, at the same time, overstuffed.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review...a novel as vigorous, audacious and unpredictable as Casement himself ... the dichotomy of valor and cowardice invests Murray’s narrative with shape and momentum ... although set a hundred years ago, [Valiant Gentlemen] denies the reader the consolation of centennial retrospection, and in so doing translates the past into a present as immediate as it is unnerving.