RavePloughsharesSally Rooney’s third novel, Beautiful World, Where Are You, dazzles with much of what we have come to expect from her: unadorned prose, psychologically nuanced relationships, and astonishingly life-like dialogue. But Rooney does not rely on her same tricks entirely ... jaded but no longer so sardonic, with more at stake than just the characters themselves ... The emails meander in philosophical, essay-like fashion with one clear theme still shining through: how to make meaningful lives \'on this rapidly degenerating planet.\' Here, an author known for her talent writing dialogue takes a risk. The epistolary format limits the back-and-forth component of Rooney’s signature witty banter. But it also offers space for deeper insight ... In the sections between emails, Rooney returns to her more familiar \'will they or won’t they\' territory, employing a third-person perspective as the couples get together, break up, and get back together again. She excels, as always, at exploring the murky feelings that surface when two people can’t quite define their romantic relationship ... the novel seems in direct conversation with its readers ... Rooney’s particular talent lies in her ability to capture millennial existentialism and dread while almost simultaneously soothing it. We find relief from the heaviness of today’s impossible questions, she suggests, through our connections with each other.
RaveThe Chicago Review of BooksJerkins’s incisive social commentary shines through ... Jerkins conjures empathy for even her most complicated characters ... Jerkins’s expansive prose helps us see all sides of the thorny decisions her characters must make, so we can decide for ourselves who they are ... Jerkins uses sensory language that emphasizes the joys and sorrows of motherhood ... Laced with generational pain and sprinkled with magic, Caul Baby is a sweeping family drama with no shortage of action. During a pandemic that has laid bare a nation’s inequities, Jerkins’s work feels more relevant than ever. She approaches the complexities of Black motherhood, gentrification, and capitalism with urgency and care. What does it look like when a family reckoning with so many outside forces also suffers from within? What is the path forward in these times of dread, when so many long-held traditions no longer serve us? Jerkins offers solutions all her own in this blazingly original debut.