RaveNew York Times Book ReviewA novel often vested more in describing the world through his perspective than in any conventions of plot ... This isn’t to say that things don’t happen in Lazar’s novel ... There’s an interesting tension between Christopher’s interior state and the political reality that surrounds him, one made even more complicated by a narrative style that consciously — one might even say adamantly — eschews explicit drama in favor of a more lyrical and often abstract mode of expression ... The type of withholding that Lazar employs has little to do with restraint or uncertainty, much less a desire to build dramatic tension out of missing information ... Facts, however, offer little in terms of clarity or resolution on the characters’ internal lives and their attachments to one another. Seemingly stable truths are some of the very things the narrator sets out to disturb ... Mystifying and deliberately ambiguous ... At its best, Lazar’s withholding seems to be a much-needed defense of ambiguity and the beautiful complexity that comes with it ... There are obvious challenges to that narrative approach ... It’s a risk that I imagine Lazar was keenly aware of in constructing a narrative voice that is attuned to not only the larger political contexts of our lives but also the gulfs separating many of us from them. Christopher, for all of his limitations, engages seriously with the possibility that the meaning we hope to find in the often competing and sometimes discordant layers of facts and images surrounding us is, in the end, unlikely and random — the same quality that renders his story at once mysterious, frustrating, tragic and, yes, sublime.
Novuyo Rosa Tshuma
RaveThe New York Times Book Review\"... remarkable ... Zamani, however, is too rich and complicated a character to be reduced to any single metaphor or symbol ... Tshuma’s brilliant layering of competing images and metaphors is one of the many marvels of this wise and demanding novel. While Zamani may claim, over and over, that what he’s seeking is a full accounting of history at the most intimate level, the stories that are slowly and painfully revealed suggest that something far more complicated is at work ... stunning ... It’s a remarkable feat. Through Zamani, Tshuma shows us how much work it takes to efface the past, and, through House of Stone, she proves that those efforts are no match for a novel as ambitious and ingenious as this one.\
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review...a subtle and often personal interrogation of our immigration system ... Luiselli’s awareness of a story’s ability to restrict informs the book’s judicious use of these children’s lives, as well as its quietly brilliant structure as a series of responses to the questionnaire ... Happily, Luiselli does not write with the journalist’s attempt at objectivity. This is an intimate narrative, but it’s not a memoir. The portrait of migration she offers is intended to complicate, rather than resolve or clarify. As a result, it’s hard not to want more information ... That said, Luiselli wisely invests most of the book’s energy establishing the moral and emotional foundation of her approach to the work she does as a volunteer, and as an author.
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewPalacio unspools his characters’ lives with the type of omniscient authority befitting an epic. He grants us immediate, intimate access to their private selves ... while on the surface this may not sound like the stuff of dramatic tragedy, Palacio ensures that it is. He understands the power of silence, and he breaks his characters’ hearts wide open by leaving them just beyond one another’s reach ... Palacio runs dangerously close to a type of symbolism that simply makes [his characters] extensions of a debate on faith and literature ... it’s in the depiction of that glorious tragedy, and all the love and devotion that come with it, that Palacio’s novel becomes more than just epic. It becomes extraordinary.