RaveChapter16Erdrich imbues The Night Watchman with her signature style: a sweeping vision of spiritual and historical resonance, animated by the rich depth of feeling within her characters and a wry current of humor. Amid its many strengths and pleasures, this novel creates a graceful meditation on the power—and the steep cost—of holding vigil for the things of our world that we love and that we know we may lose.
Katy Simpson Smith
RaveChapter 16... ambitious ... Readers who are drawn to history for its grand, sweeping scale will find Smith’s premise irresistible: a quartet of characters whose stories span almost 2,000 years and whose experiences delve into the chaotic, multilayered, enduring heart of Rome ... In Smith’s novel, Shelley’s four ways of characterizing Rome act as more than a colorful swirl of imagery. They provide a structural conceit that allows Smith to organize two millennia’s worth of material about Rome’s history and people ... Whether the novel is enhanced by Satan’s commentary is open to debate. Some readers may find the bracketed asides an unnecessary device, while others will likely delight in Satan’s wit and insight into the novel’s protagonists. Still others may argue that Satan becomes a protagonist. But there’s no denying that the substance of his commentary sparks and surprises ... After a languid start, The Everlasting builds cohesion and momentum through small but surprising moments of linkage among the characters’ stories and the eras in which they live. A gifted stylist, Smith crafts the novel with a greater emphasis on lyricism than on any particular plotline, spinning a complex, memorable tale of the vast universe contained in the life of a single city.
PositiveNashville SceneAs the book’s title suggests, McInerny rejects the cliché of a \'Hollywood happy ending\': \'This is life after life after life, in all of the chaos and contradiction of feelings and doings and beings involved,\' she writes. \'There will be unimaginable joy and incomprehensible tragedy.\' With great wit and empathy, she admits that allowing tragic events to open us up to further vulnerability may not feel right, or possible. But taking that risk can restore our trust that the light of goodness can still reach us, even in our darkest nights.
RaveNashville Scene...a haunting, lyrical meditation ... These events dovetail, merge and then remake themselves, all through Shalmiyev’s elusive, powerful prose style. Her point of view proceeds from the center of her trauma, conjuring experiences in the fragmented, nonlinear ways in which memories recur ... Shalmiyev re-experiences these early memories with immediacy and candor ... Despite the book’s nonlinear lyricism, Mother Winter achieves \'structure and order within the chaos,\' a state that Shalmiyev calls \'the first rule of proper mothering.\' From the harrowing childhood scenes that exposed her to great harm to the poignant moments of vulnerability she shares with her own young children, Shalmiyev finds a graceful structure for the chaos in her world, and she communicates her story with shattering clarity.
RaveNashville Scene\"Clark’s poems operate at a high pitch. They startle. They challenge. They demand full attention. They invoke a glorious pantheon of muses, companions and ghosts. Through her own inventive use of form and voice, Clark shapes an original path through the works of other artists — from Toni Morrison and Carrie Mae Weems to Balanchine and Stravinsky, Kanye and Rihanna ... With I Can’t Talk About the Trees Without the Blood, Clark emerges as a necessary voice from the contemporary South.\
RaveThe Nashville Scene\"Chee offers a hybrid vision, one that surpasses simple personal revelation or practical instruction. Illuminating the winding path through a writer’s inner world, he never hides his own setbacks and self-sabotaging meanders. The wisdom that emerges from these essays always feels grounded by rigorous introspection and purposeful self-exposure, and this perspective eradicates any trace of the self-aggrandizement that can easily infect personal writing.\
PositiveThe Nashville SceneThough the mystery surrounding Joan's walkabouts may be easy for readers to guess early on, Cece stays in the dark for years. At times the wealth and advantage of this world can make The After Party's social tangles seem like less-than-dire stakes. But the satisfying parts of this story ultimately lie elsewhere: in the tender unfolding of Cece's empathy and gratitude for the relationships in her life. As those relationships are stretched to their limits, they confront Cece with a question that haunts every part of this novel: How well can we really know other people — even those we love most dearly?