PositiveBookforum... an ambitious first novel, a critique smuggled into a thriller ... The book is unsettling from the start, and its flashes of humor hardly dampen the building terror. Majumdar’s spare writing, infused with dark imagery, intensifies the reader’s dread ... Majumdar’s talent at conveying the sinister is especially evident in a later interlude ... Much is concealed in this growing society, which this book shows more clearly than a news article ever could: the violence masquerading as justice, the imprisonment behind Lovely’s stardom and PT’s power, and the death and division behind nationalists’ proclamations of unity. If prosperity is a mask hiding the violence of contemporary India, then A Burning rips it off for us to see.
RaveThe Washington Post... unfolds like a thriller, only it’s true ...Maher’s investigation of Baloch’s life and death is remarkable: It is not just the story of one rebellious woman but a study of an entire country and culture in collision with the new demands of the Internet, reality TV and women determined to shake off old strictures. Maher, a journalist based in Karachi, is a patient and transparent narrator, telling us where accounts conflict, which interviewees are unreliable and what questions must go unanswered. Her style of writing — stark and sometimes poetic — befits her subject ... commendable when so many journalists got Baloch’s story wrong ... Maher does not glorify her subject ... a refreshingly complicated portrait ... Maher’s book is both intimate and sweeping: It gives readers a deep sense of who Baloch was, about the world that created her and why so many people couldn’t stop watching. Admirably, Maher gives us no easy answers. But one takeaway is clear: In a place where worlds are colliding, and honor is on the line, it is often women who pay the price.
PositiveThe Philadelphia Inquirer... unfolds like a thriller, only it’s true ... Maher, a journalist based in Karachi, is a patient and transparent narrator, telling us where accounts conflict, which interviewees are unreliable and what questions must go unanswered. Her style of writing—stark and sometimes poetic—befits her subject ... Maher’s book is both intimate and sweeping: It gives readers a deep sense of who Baloch was, about the world that created her, and why so many people couldn’t stop watching. Maher gives us no easy answers. But one takeaway is clear: In a place where worlds are colliding, and honor is on the line, it is often women who pay the price.
PositiveThe Washington PostMiller draws a clear-eyed portrait of how difficult it is for a rape victim to get justice, and how the process serves as its own kind of re-victimization ... more powerful still is Miller’s ability to coalesce her experience of what came after the assault — the long court case, the intense media coverage, the light sentence — into something larger ... a gut-punch, and in the end, somehow, also blessedly hopeful.
RaveThe Washington Post...an extraordinary study of female desire ... To write this kind of nonfiction — it’s true, but reads like a novel — Taddeo smartly employs not only interviews but also diary entries, legal documents, letters, emails and text messages. The result is a book as exhaustively reported and as elegantly written as Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers or Adrian Nicole LeBlanc’s Random Family. ... In Taddeo’s world almost anything can be pregnant with desire: a restaurant, a river, a classroom ... Taddeo’s language is at its best — sublime, even — when she describes the pain of desire left unfulfilled ... As the book progresses, the men in these women’s lives appear to be not only deficient but nearly monstrous. At times, Taddeo eviscerates them with what seems like a kind of gender essentialism, as if men are fixed creatures, deploying cutting remarks about how they \'need\' instead of \'want\' ... If there is anything wrong with this arresting, provocative debut, it is that at times the stories feel too explicit, almost voyeuristic. But can a book about desire ever be too explicit? In fact, the most carnal scenes reveal the most about what these women want and how complicated that want can be. Even if others are determined to keep it from them.