RaveBookpageIn three parts that unfold over the course of a year in the aptly named New Mexico town of Las Penas, The Five Wounds is a knife-sharp study of what happens to a family when accountability to other people goes out the window. Quade’s characters are experts at pushing love away, especially when intimate connection is most necessary ... As each member of the Padilla family battles their personal demons, hope shimmers like a mirage over everyday life, a sweet what-if that Quade expertly suspends above the text ... it is a treat to see the author’s exceptional command of pacing on display in a novel. Proof that what you say is just as important as how you say it, her precise lines are wanting in neither substance nor style, and her darkly hilarious, tender, gorgeous use of language is one of the crowning pleasures of the novel ... an irreverent 21st-century meditation on the restorative powers of empathy.
PositiveBookPage... not a novel that looks away from pain. Hashimi has taken an inventory of the toll childhood instability takes on a person’s emotional well-being ... Hashimi’s novel conveys its themes through a mix of frank and poetic language. Maxims from Aryana’s father operate as a bridge between past and present, which at times feels contrived given the first-person narration. Still, Aryana is an intriguing character who likens herself to Anastasia Romanov, whose disputed escape from her family’s political execution becomes a kind of obsession for Aryana ... an elegiac tribute to family and civilization—fragile collective entities that should be cherished while they still hold.
Claudia Hernández, trans. by Julia Sanches
PositiveBookPage... an ember of a novel. Originally published in Spanish, this restrained narrative about a mother’s sacrifice surges with hot undercurrents of danger and memory ... Ultimately, Slash and Burn is an unflinching meditation on girlhood and womanhood. The compañeras-in-arms within its pages ask few favors, preferring to toil with honor rather than fall prey to the disappointment of broken promises. In this slow burn, Hernández ferries her characters across oceans for the common purpose of finding home—an as-yet-unnamed possibility.