PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewDuring the course of more than 600 pages, Sogolon lives a dozen lives and is haunted by a hundred ghosts. \'Let us make this quick,\' Sogolon often said, just as I was trying to catch my breath. The book is told in the syntax of a dialect: Verbs are left unconjugated, and words are shuffled around. I reread sections to try to understand who was speaking and what was being said. Then a line of pure poetry would stop me in my tracks ... I have other gripes. The flow of bodily fluids is still relentless, and there is to my mind an excess of crudely referenced orifices and thrusting male genitalia. Rape is again ubiquitous and graphic ... The cities of this world rival any creation of Italo Calvino ... James’s imagination is vast and fiery, and his numerous fight scenes are heart-pumping and vivid. But what has stayed with me are his more subtle observations on the human condition, how people don’t run away from terrible situations only because they don’t know where else to go, how love is like fear, grief is like fury and revenge can never be as satisfying as you imagine ... A reader must enter the Dark Star trilogy of her own volition, with eyes wide open. But the Moon Witch lit my path and showed me how a woman might navigate this dangerous, remarkable world.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review... fantastic ... No one will persuade me that this bold, iridescent butterfly of a story could have landed on anyone’s shoulder but Ross’s ... ubiquitous throughout the novel is sex, in all of its beautiful and frightening forms ... The book is often bawdy and unexpectedly funny ... In such a way, Ross works her own magic, transforming humanity’s worn-out suffering into something new and astonishing. Addiction becomes a dusty, thrumming moth that we can hold in the palm of our hand. With it separated from ourselves, we are able to observe its fragility, its strangeness and terrible power. Women’s complicated relationship with their own sexuality is similarly detached, set free, seen anew ... Even as Ross is dazzling and shocking us, she’s also steadily questioning who holds the power and whether they are worthy of it ... Ross’s lyrical, rhythmic writing is something to be savored ... Critics have spotted the influence of Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie, Gabriel García Márquez and Junot Díaz in Ross’s work. In interviews, Ross has added Stephen King, Anaïs Nin, Sherwood Anderson and Roald Dahl, among others. I saw all of those influences swirling in the deep waters of this book. I was also reminded of the fairy tale realism of Helen Oyeyemi and the ecological surrealism of Jeff VanderMeer ... Despite this eclectic chorus backing her up, Ross’s voice sings out loud and pure throughout the entire novel. And while she is not afraid to call out humanity’s failings and wrongdoings, something else reigns over the story: joy. Joy in the senses, in food and love and kinship, in music, uproarious laughter and late-night parties ... At times Popisho gets a little rowdy, but Ross is like a thoughtful hostess — she’s always at your side, pointing out the best dishes, explaining the customs, introducing you to friends and enemies even as she whispers a few juicy bits of gossip about each of them. Much of it will be extraordinary and overwhelming to the senses, but you’ll find your way, and when everyone gets up to dance, you might end up tapping your foot along with the beat.
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review\"[Oyeyemi\'s] sentences are like grabbing onto the tail of a vibrant, living creature without knowing what you’ll find at the other end. It’s absolutely exhilarating ... Everything is alive, unpredictable, sometimes whimsical and other times sinister, and often very bizarre ... this remarkable, surprising novel cannot be summed up so easily ... Gingerbread is often funny ... But like Lewis Carroll and L. Frank Baum before her, Oyeyemi’s work is more than just fairy-tale whimsy and clever humor ... I looked up the meaning of Perdita’s name and laughed to myself. It is Latin for lost. That is how I felt at times in Oyeyemi’s world. A little lost ... Gingerbread is jarring, funny, surprising, unsettling, disorienting and rewarding. It requires the reader to be quick-footed and alert ... This is a wildly imagined, head-spinning, deeply intelligent novel that requires some effort and attention from its reader. And that is just one of its many pleasures.\
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewWith the universal tone of \'once upon a time,\' Hunt conjures the stories we heard as children ... Those who have read Hunt’s other recent novels will note similarities—a historical American backdrop, intriguing female main characters, a colloquial first-person voice with a distinctive cadence and poetic cleverness ... this one takes off at a full gallop and never looks back. In just over 200 pages, Hunt evokes countless stories embedded in the American consciousness, from Grimms’ fairy tales to Washington Irving’s creepy stories of the early 1800s. And while there are no outright references to the witch trials, he seems to pay homage to Salem with the names of his characters, Eliza and Goody ... So prepare yourself. This is a perfect book to read when you’re safely tucked in your home, your back to the wall, while outside your door the wind rips the leaves from the trees and the woods grow dark.