PanThe New York Times Book ReviewAny potential for a profound narrative in this promising setup is thwarted by the writing, which is bloated and indulgent. The book’s dreamy musings and vague scenes are laden with metaphors so mixed it can require several reads just to take in their true awfulness ... It is difficult to know whom to blame, author or translator, for the manic descriptions, desperate reflections and mangled aphorisms ... The novel’s images are contorted, its metaphors removed from the physical world ... Every dead thing is compared to fish, every dark or mysterious thing to Arabs ... Translation is a tricky business, but did this grotesque analogy sound O.K. in Italian? ... D’Avenia’s authorial style may be \'more is more,\' but even when no words are needed, he still offers a dozen ... D’Avenia’s relationship to simile is misguided and cynical: used to obfuscate, not clarify ... Somewhere between the writing, editing and translation the audience has been dismissed, and all beauty murdered.
RaveThe Guardian[A] tightly crafted, gracefully elegiac second novel ... Chariandy’s writing is accomplished and confident: every word hits its mark ... Brother is an exquisite novel, crafted by a writer as talented and precise as Junot Díaz and Dinaw Mengestu. It has a beating heart and a sharp tongue. It is elegant, vital, indubitably dope—the most moving book I’ve read in a year.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewDarznik has composed her novel for Western ears, in elegantly simple language. She resists Persian flourishes in both her prose and her translations of Farrokhzad’s work; I question whether the poet would recognize herself in Darznik’s voice, compelling as it is. And here is a larger problem of poetic translation: How do you capture a language as floral and breathy as Farsi without access to its unique sounds? ... Song of a Captive Bird is a complex and beautiful rendering of that vanished country and its scattered people; a reminder of the power and purpose of art; and an ode to female creativity under a patriarchy that repeatedly tries to snuff it out.