PanSalon\"These attempts at political profundity fall flat, and while one should never read a novel through a lens of priggishness, the constancy of crude jokes, scatological references and \'shock jock\' banter undermines the seriousness of the subject matter. ... It is likely that many novels and films will follow the Ohio formula as Americans scramble to dissect Trump’s frightening rise to power and decipher the decline of the United States. They will all remain small and small-minded — nothing more than fictionalized and cinematic versions of Hillbilly Elegy — if their creators do not have the courage to risk what John Irving called \'the slur of sentimentality\' ... The novel self-destructs, despite its good intentions, because by showing nothing but contempt and condescension toward its characters, and toward New Canaan and the countless towns it represents, it becomes what it despises: Just another exercise of American cruelty.\
RaveSalonIn A Really Big Lunch, Harrison directly addresses some of his favorite topics, dropping much of the lyricism from his prose, to write at his most fun. Like a discoverer with the pirate flag flying from his mast, he is excited to share the secrets of his loot. Even when he is operating in full wine snob mode, he is a joy to read ... The intimacy and enthusiasm of Harrison’s food correspondent style makes reading A Really Big Lunch feel like sitting at a table during a really big lunch with the best, and smartest, and most entertaining of friends ... almost a radical manifesto for Epicurean hedonism; an argument for a feast, in every sense, against the teetotalers bragging about the length of their hunger strike ... He manages to convince, with nearly every sentence, that the worst sin and most offensive crime is to leave anything left on the plate when it is time to leave the table.
PositiveSalonRusso is one of America’s great humorists. His novels often rely on the absurd and comic to give glimpse into the souls of his characters. Raymer’s grief is real, but his struggle with the garage door opener often seems silly. The honest and realistic reader must ask, however, who among us has not descended into the silly under the erroneous rationalization of self-importance? That question, depending on the answer and the framing of the answer, can harvest hope or despair. It is this conflict between cynicism and optimism that rests at the heart of Russo’s fiction, and animates Everybody’s Fool ... Everybody’s Fool does not equal the emotional might of Nobody’s Fool but it possesses elegance and wisdom worthy of study in the millions of Baths across the world.