RaveThe GuardianHer plane has just taken off from Berlin and, for the 90 minutes of its flight to Paris, we are at the mercy of the highly entertaining cycles and reflections of our unnamed heroine’s linguistic neuroses...Accompanied by her sister, whose interjections and observations punctuate her digressions, she’s also cringe-suffering over the memory of a man she left behind ... Indeed, the concept of shame, from the personal to the political, is a recurrent theme. This is where much of the fun in the book surfaces, with the main character seemingly incapable of extricating herself from a furnace of scorching social embarrassment ... Inevitably, a novel exploring modernist compositional techniques alongside an appraisal of the poisonous bequest of the Third Reich faces comparison to Thomas Mann’s great symphonic novel Doctor Faustus ... This is more than just another ingenious overlap in a novel already full of them. Lefebvre is placing herself within the conversation and, happily, Blue Self-Portrait never buckles beneath the weight.
RaveThe Guardian\"This is a book that could easily founder under the weight of its subject matter. Neither inviting nor shying away from modern-day parallels, Han neatly unpacks the social and political catalysts behind the massacre and maps its lengthy, toxic fallout. But what is remarkable is how she accomplishes this while still making it a novel of blood and bone ... By choosing the novel as her form, then allowing it to do what it does best – take readers to the very centre of a life that is not their own – Han prepares us for one of the most important questions of our times: \'What is humanity? What do we have to do to keep humanity as one thing and not another?\' She never answers, but this act of unflinching witness seems as good a place to start as any.\