RaveWashington Independent Review of BooksAs children, many of us experienced momentary panic at losing sight of our guardian. Racing through shop aisles shouting their name, we felt overwhelming relief at finally hearing their voice ... Kateřina Tučková’s heart-wrenching new novel, Gerta, is a prolonged version of that tumultuous moment ... While this melancholy tale ably pulls at the heartstrings, its true potency lies in its realism ... Aside from its sparse plot, Gerta’s main strength is its lyrical language, translated exquisitely from the original Czech into English by Véronique Firkusny. The nimble text elevates the narrative and evokes deep emotions ... Gerta is neither fast-paced nor action-packed, nor does it seek to be. Rather, it quietly brings to life a forgotten snippet of World War II history while simultaneously reminding us that simply surviving is oftentimes extraordinary.
RaveThe Washington Independent Review of Books... plays across the mind like a haunting melody. Employing sharp, lyrical prose ... women rupture this imposed silence, barreling out from the shadows, unapologetic and irreverent. The author splashes the pages with Callisto’s sense of betrayal ... Couched in seductive prose, Wake, Siren wages war against those who would strip women of the rights to their own stories. This is not merely a retelling of Ovid; it is a triumph of women reclaiming their voices ... Characters use contemporary speech patterns, detaching these myths from antiquity and situating them firmly in modernity ... creates a space where female characters are able to be utterly, unapologetically human.
Jamil Jan Kochai
RaveThe Washington Independent Review of Books... lyrically powerful ... refuses to shy away from the images of a decrepit Afghanistan that the media, particularly Western media, so delights in pushing ... skillfully weaves folktales, Islamic hadiths, stories from the Quran, and simple retellings of past occurrences in a way that breathes life into the oral tradition of storytelling still so prevalent in countries such as Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan ... the Afghani equivalent of gathering around a warm campfire on a night where the air still has quite a bit of nip to it. You aren’t entirely comfortable, but you’re surrounded by loved ones as you share tales that evoke a spectrum of emotions ... As for the language barriers, they cause confusion without becoming obstacles ... Despite the linguistic barriers Western and even some Eastern audiences will experience, the novel unerringly guides readers to consider our many, unexpected similarities. At some point and in some place, we will all be outsiders.
PanWashington Independent Review of Books\"At its core, a fascinating story exists ... As the narrative travels across space and time, it displays McDermid’s laudable efforts to immerse readers in particular locales and eras ... The author creates an atmosphere of authenticity ... The story also lingers lovingly on the bucolic scenery of rural Scotland ... Unfortunately, the above-mentioned pieces are the strongest in an otherwise poorly constructed tower. While McDermid crafts vivid images, her novel falls apart from the first few chapters. Readers are given too many clues, rendering the murder and its motives too obvious ... The characters share the same fate as the plot: The idea and the background are solid, unique, and fascinating, but the execution is lacking ... Much like the dialogue, clichés are so worn that readers are left waiting for punchlines that never materialize ... Broken Ground does just enough to raise up its tower of blocks, but it’s an unstable, rickety construction. Read it for fun on a cold winter night — but don’t be surprised when it all comes tumbling down.\
RaveThe Washington Independent Review of BooksWhile the focus of the novel is Lana, Healey also makes readers suspicious of its unreliable narrator, Jen. Lana may be unstable, but readers are subtly reminded to question concepts like \'sanity\' as Jen teeters on the brink of madness herself. The shock and stress of living with a suicidal, self-mutilating daughter bends Jen’s mind into an ever-darker state ... How does a reader trust someone who cannot trust herself? That is the central question of this novel. The writing will make readers feel like everyone is a little insane ... Healey’s skill as a writer is laudable for the way she manipulates the English language so that words and the meanings attached to them suddenly become slippery ... Whistle in the Dark is not to be missed.