MixedThe New York Times Book ReviewReid’s dialogue wants to capture the tone of the young, the beautiful and athletic, but much of it feels lazy to the point of being cringe-worthy. The dialogue and interior monologue can be juvenile, filled with repeated expletives that can’t be quoted here, but wear thin and detract from the overall effect, rather than adding to the portrait of these characters, as Reid presumably intends. It was fine and fitting in Reid’s previous book, Daisy Jones & The Six a fictional oral history of a rock band. But Malibu Rising is a different kind of novel, with a voice that could have used elevating.
PositiveThe New York TimesTo Dellarobia, the swarms are a warning — go home, don’t cheat — but the devoted of Feathertown see a miracle and want a piece of the action. A Bible class dropout ‘tainted with doubt’ and pining for the college education her teen marriage thwarted, Dellarobia is drawn to science and its practitioners, at odds with her neighbors, who believe weather and its accompanying phenomena to be the Lord’s business … Do global warming and intimations of doomsday tax the storytelling at times? Yes. But they share these pages with smaller-scale, deliciously human moments. Without overreaching she delivers line after line that can be at once beautiful, casual, wry, offbeat. Whether she is describing Dellarobia’s malcontented, ambitious in-laws or the environmentally earnest rubberneckers or Feathertown’s rumpled young preacher, she never employs, as she says of one character, the ‘ordinary tools of contempt.’
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewIf it were easy to explain what Helen Simpson can do with a story, more writers would be fashioning such jewels. It’s along these lines: Start with the ostensible foreground — perhaps a lunch or a visit from a svelte refrigerator repairman or a recipe for lemon drizzle cake — then introduce the emotional hobgoblins that throw the characters rewardingly off-kilter ... Across the nine stories, in the leitmotif department, trepidations about turning 50 would get the nod ... The shortest story, 'Torremolinos,' is unpredictably tender, a conversation between the narrator, a triple-bypass patient sharing a recovery room with a prison inmate who has faked a heart attack to relieve the boredom of his life...It’s a wonderful premise, perfectly executed ... What more does one want in a short story besides memorable characters, comic timing, originality, economy and poignancy? And heart. All there. Done. The reader thanks Simpson’s eye and ear for such generosity.
PositiveThe Washington PostSemple’s descriptions — no surprise to her fans — are loopy, deeply, darkly funny and brave ... Despite an upping of the activity from frenetic to madcap, the reveal to some may be underwhelming. The sentences that get us there are not. Semple is a master of the social skewer, boldly impolite and impolitic ... Eleanor is as sharp and Semple-esque as they come, which is to say a delightful danger to herself and others, sympathetic, and so very smart.
MixedThe New York Times Book ReviewCohen does a fine job of covering her career, from reporting for The Wellesley College News to toiling as a mail girl at Newsweek, onward to columnist, essay writer, novelist, screenwriter, director, playwright. Whom she dated, whom she married, whom she offended and fired — he reports all this with authority and gusto ... If judged simply as a book, as it should be, and not along a friendship continuum: whoosh. It’s juicy, opinionated, indiscreet, immodest, not terribly well organized or fact-checked.
PositiveThe Washington Post“The Dogs of Littlefield is character-driven but not at a breakneck speed. The writing couldn’t be better or smarter, even if the story is missing adrenaline. The canine murders, all told, are a way in, a comedy of manners with a dabbling in whodunit.