PositiveThe Washington PostThe novel’s twin themes, the limits of empathy and language, are explored from every angle in living room census interviews that more closely resemble religious confessions than a bureaucratic process ... Though Census reads, at times, like a protracted parable, it eschews tidy lessons. The result is an understated feat, a book that says more than enough simply by saying, 'Look, this is how some people are.'”
PanThe Dallas Morning NewsAs the plot wears on, it becomes increasingly clear that The Association of Small Bombs is a kind of moral or message novel about how violence and a lust for violence is common to every group, regardless of race or religion. And, more straightforwardly, that violence and idealism are desperately and inextricably linked, leading to each other cyclically and in unexpected, unforeseeable ways. While I admired Mahajan’s portrayal of a world so different from my own, the resulting novel didn’t land for me as anything other than the elaboration of this relatively self-evident truism.
RaveThe Los Angeles TimesHowever ridiculous [the premise] might sound, the book functions as a powerful, intelligent, and entertaining entry into the Literature of Masculinity ... The Throwback Special reads with the clarity of a weekend viewed through the lens of a brilliant documentarian, an insider equipped with a hand-held camera moving unfettered from hotel room to lobby to parking lot to football field. Bachelder catches glimpses and scenes, a panorama of masculine ego, insecurity and camaraderie, skewering the men in their absurd struggles while also acknowledging that the struggle is real, that sometimes 30 years isn't enough time for broken bones to heal.
RaveThe MillionsI braced myself for the downhill slide with every new chapter, aware of the notorious difficulty involved in keeping artistic gimmicks from going stale, but my interest and investment only deepened as the novel wore on, as Moody revealed not only a man, but an entire culture through these scattered fragments that mirror the workings of memory and of real day-to-day living.