RaveThe Sunday Times (UK)In January, John Jeremiah Sullivan entered my life like a crashing meteor ... My reaction — and, I now discover, the reaction of many new arrivals at the church of John Jeremiah — was simple and confounded: where had this guy been all our lives ... The subject matter of these essays is wildly various...unified only in the personality of the author, who is by turns curious, waspish, sentimental, maudlin, faux-naif, warm-hearted and urbane ... Despite its pop-culture references and ostensibly banal subject matter, there is something daring, high-minded about his writing ... Sullivan is consistently surprising, not least to himself ... In \'Upon This Rock\', the jewel of the collection, both we and the author expect certain things to happen ... What begins as a typical New York magazine assignment — snarky urban writer documents credulous brainwashed hicks — turns into something much stranger, and richer. The effect is devastating.
PositiveThe GuardianFinnegan’s descriptions of riding waves are filled both with the magical argot of his craft and the clean-hewn simile with which his writing on other subjects is distinguished ... It would have been interesting to understand more about how this obsession had intersected with his marriage. His wife, Caroline, is a criminal lawyer with her own successful career. The couple have a daughter, Mollie. But in addition to foreign reporting trips, Finnegan recounts long winter surf breaks with his friends when his family is left at home.