PositiveThe Nation...a luminous novel ... What would it mean to represent sexual violence honestly in fiction; what would it look like to allow its meaning-rending quality to swallow a narrative whole? Trust Exercise provides one answer ... The reward of Trust Exercise is the way in which this novel asks to be read: not necessarily with suspicion, but with attention to the process of sorting significant from insignificant details; attention to what information you need in order to consider a certain version of the truth authoritative. As it tells the same story again and again, you watch the characters enter its silences and utter their own particular meanings. Then you, the reader, intuit not only what happened but whether, in this case, playing connect-the-dots might bring you further from the truth. Choi’s novel measures the distance that must be traveled to see its stories as connected: an interminable journey, or no journey at all.
PositiveThe NationThe book dissects what the alloy of nationalism, survivalism, and vengeance does to a society, and how it can mold the psyches of its members ... Burns\'s novel has been described as \'experimental,\' \'baffling,\' and \'challenging,\' none of which quite describe this singular, hypnotic novel. It tugs you like an undertow into the rhythms of its narrator’s mind ... The result is an uncanny narrative, one that is dreamlike and claustrophobic, hovering just above history ... The violence is...ignored, but it can’t be entirely blocked out; it echoes in the story like an animal yowling far away. Burns achieves this through the horrifying, darkly funny asides her narrator rattles off like stones from a slingshot ... Milkman is a book about what happens when something—a person, a cause, or a community—demands your entire soul, and demands it not from a position of power but from the desperate edge of survival.