RaveThe Arts Fuse... mesmerizing ... Voices telling Newman’s tales, while occasionally sounding somewhat too alike, are compelling ... Atmospheric detail and texture here are outstanding ... not long, but it’s a big, brash book, crammed with authentic color. You will have to be up for it; you will learn a lot about a corner of the world that’s rarely captured, and is done so here exceptionally well. Leigh Newman will be interesting to track in the future; your F.C. (‘faithful correspondent’, that is) expects you’ll need a very fast dogsled to keep up.
PositiveThe Arts FuseA chronicle of a mostly plain, largely confused, off- and on-again love, as told by a narrator who’s as tormented by her passion as thrilled with it, this debut concentrates on the vagaries of desire with its attendant frustrations. And curiously, it does this in a spare, uncomplicated, and natural fashion that sets it apart from any formulaic romance ... Moody and introspective, the story ambles around, the two coupling and uncoupling, although sex itself, while frequent, is scarcely detailed, almost chaste? ... Acts is entirely simple, but feels universal — somehow charming and pure as a result of heartfelt nature and an authentic voice. The readers of Nolan’s Times column — at least those who praised it — are likely to enjoy it, and perhaps to relate, as will many.
PositiveArts FuseNicole Krauss’ new book of short stories generates a curious, understated, but genuinely transporting spirit, pretty much throughout ... Many of the stories here have a woman narrator behind them; anyone who imagines the book’s title suggests some feminist diatribe or something like it is mistaken. Krauss displays an ability to capture the hearts and minds of men and women alike ... Krauss has a way of evoking places, atmospheres, and feeling with a spare subtlety that is very effective.
RaveThe Arts FuseFantastic upheaval keeps intruding on the proceedings ... many untold surprises, phantasmagorical segues, and jarring shocks await ... Successful in the way the best Michel Gondry films are, Parakeet is a virtuosic, perplexing, challenging trip. If it’s too disturbing a tale for this particular moment (it shouldn’t be), it may be a great work to explore in a year to come.
PositiveThe ArtsFuse... raises one’s eyebrows again and again. While readers may not come away with the thought that you have to be stupid to pursue a restaurant career, it’s likely at least that the word \'crazy\' might apply? ... has the unsurprising effect of making you hungry; if your mind wanders as you are reading, you’ll probably find yourself thinking of food. The book wanders as well. Still, even if it seems that sometimes threads are lost, characters are occasionally left unrealized, and quite a few unanswered questions linger, it may be best to relax and not care. Hopefully the French attitudes won’t irritate (they might!). This is a rambling salute; everything is germane, organic, and mostly pleasant at the least. But you’ve been warned: \'crazy\' is operative.
PositiveArtsFuseFor readers who have been missing this kind of vivid realism, it’s pleasing to report that a successor to this writing school has emerged ... A synopsis of Wink’s book may also lead one to wonder what in the hell happened; there is plenty of time and room while reading it to observe that not a great deal does. Initially, you may find the understated nature of this character and his world to be perplexing, possibly dull: drama is portioned out into increments, and many episodes end quietly. But August is funny in a way — over time its small-scale rhythms and monosyllabic reactions generate a comforting beauty that settles in. You develop an ease with its pace, and a curiosity in the ordinary. Montana especially is strongly evoked; I found myself looking up the one-horse towns, rivers, and reservoirs appearing here on Google Maps. In the end, Wink provides some palpable satisfaction, enough so that it’s fair to think that the book is a worthy entry in the tradition, and deserving of the time spent with it.
PositiveThe Arts FuseIn no way a ‘tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing’, Pew is instead a kind of reverie, a wide-eyed spin on the Southern novel. There are vestiges of the tradition still to be seen—the sinister prejudice of the region, the ignorance, the fear—and Lacey cites earlier fiction by Eudora Welty and Flannery O’Connor as an influence in the acknowledgments. But we’re also somewhere entirely different—in a murky, unknowing dream. The novel proceeds briskly, with elaborate but well-turned sentences that flow together and rarely fail to hold attention. It’s possible to find some repetition, to grow impatient with the mystery, and perhaps to wonder whether this tale might have made its mark as a longish short story equally well. But surely it’s an unusual departure from the mainstream, almost enough so as to not figure into the Southern genre at all, and as such noteworthy[.]
RaveThe Arts FuseNot all is dreary—a lot of what’s set down is almost gonzo-like, infused with plenty of inventive fun ... There’s craziness at every turn in these yarns. A few pages recall science fiction and fantasy, others conjure up someone like Wes Anderson—a Wes Anderson in high gear ... Curiouser and curiouser—that’s the name of Mary South’s game ... Whatever might be dark about these stories may also be—since they’re reliably witty and frequently very funny—a welcome distraction and relief from current events.
RaveThe Arts Fuse... important [...] to observe about her craft and acumen, that here have climbed to a new level you might think of as a breakthrough ... this latest outing employs the material toward a larger and more compelling purpose: to illustrate the uncertainty of the present time, and to ask whether or not this is life being lived at the end of everything. Or, if not the actual end, something approaching it? ... there’s a funny, parabolic quality to the emotional weather in Weather — amidst all the unsettling harbingers, the sensation of being in end times, there is still love ... Call this book a tour de force, with true justification — but its message is just as much about the everyday essence of life as any coming storm.