PositiveThe Los Angeles Review of Books... ntelligent and moving ... physics metaphors pervade the book. Freudenberger relies on them heavily as she shapes Helen’s perspective and introduces a variety of well-limned analogies and mini-lessons ... I’m not sure all of the metaphors are sufficient to make for an entirely convincing account of how a scientist sees the world, though I find Helen completely credible as a sometimes overly analytical and self-conscious academic ... Freudenberger is more credible in her portrait of a scientific outlook in her imagination of Helen’s friend and former lover Neel — or at least I think his brand of bringing together philosophy and science works better ... Nonetheless, I give Freudenberger substantial credit for trying on a scientist’s view, and indeed, for making science such a significant part of the novel ... This novel is wonderful, without any condescension, on the energy, intellectual affectation, genuine intellectual curiosity, and exaggerated feeling of youth ... More than anything though, Freudenberger is excellent in her account of female friendships ... It is very hard not to like this ambitious, thoughtful, and philosophical novel right away, and very hard not to be moved by its portrait of grief and of what endures.
PositiveThe Los Angeles Review of BooksFamiliarity may not always breed contempt — it certainly doesn’t here, where there are too many gripping elements — but it may take the edge off of admiration. The first 70 pages of Noonday raise the question of whether we are so saturated by written and filmic fictions that play to our fascination with World War II that chroniclers are up against an almost impossible task in trying both to work within the bounds of realism and to offer any sense of novelty ... [Barker] offers a powerful reflection on the long-term devastation wars wreak — a remarkable feature in a novel studded with scenes of sudden, terrible, immediate aftermath ... To the extent that the job of fiction, and especially historical fiction, is transportation, Noonday’s is a job well done.
MixedThe Los Angeles Review of BooksTennant-Moore seems to be on a welcome and worthy mission to offer a corrective to the proliferating accounts of young male bodies that mark the novels of 'all the sad young literary men'. However, she misses an important opportunity to start a bigger conversation about the ways they indulge in navel-gazing on young male sexuality. Instead, she seems to try to keep up with these boys — or to best them — by attempting to give shock value to Elsie’s sexual exploits and frankness. As a result, she undermines her own efforts.