RaveThe Columbia Review...the eight fantastical stories gathered here are inventive and richly imagined, empathetic and often sly. As a collection, it is nothing short of exhilarating ... While the intersection with the otherworldly gives these stories their power, the characters’ preoccupations remain totally familiar and achingly human ... The need for connection is the beating heart of a Russell story, and it is only through authentic relationships that characters are able to find peace ... trouble and sorrow are pervasive connectors in this book. And Russell’s prodigious gifts allow her to tease them out, while uniting us in the most unlikely ways.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewThe father-son scenes are among the most moving in the novel. Sarvas is astute in portraying how relationships can calcify in childhood, and the exquisite pain of attempting to repair them in adulthood. But he falters in his depiction of Matt’s relationships with women ... While Sarvas seems well aware he’s using clichés, awareness alone doesn’t make them interesting ... The book stayed with me, though. Sarvas tackles big questions — about what constitutes restitution, the nature of faith, the essential role of storytelling in our lives. A twist at the end, the book’s ultimate con, is too good to spoil, and left me rethinking the characters and the story. It’s a testament to Sarvas’s skill that such a trick felt like a gift.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewLepucki revels in playing with genre, yet this book is less interested in noir than in richer questions of identity, art and the ties that bind ... Lepucki is sharp and often funny when skewering contemporary notions of motherhood and the novel is most resonant when excavating Lady’s past with Seth ... There are occasional cracks in the narrative. Esther’s impulse to emulate her mother feels forced, and a plot turn at the end didn’t cohere for me. But as a whole, Woman No. 17 is propulsive and moving, and considers vital questions with empathy and sly intelligence.