RaveFinancial Times (UK)... everything we have come to expect from Shafak. Here is not only that exquisite compassion and trademark humanity but also a vibrant evocation of a hidden Istanbul in the middle of the 20th century; touching, idiosyncratic friendships and the complex inner lives of the female characters for which she has long been known ... Her friends are immigrants and underdogs, Marxists and runaways, and their own diverse, eccentric histories are one of the novel’s particular pleasures ... As Turkish writers know all too well, it is impossible for fiction to be truly apolitical and reading Shafak, one wouldn’t want it to be. Never didactic, here is an object lesson in how fiction can at once entertain and enlighten. Faint traces of magic and superstition linger, and Leila’s heightened state is reflected in the prose, which is lush and rich and lucid. This is a novel that gives voice to the invisible, the untouchable, the abused and the damaged, weaving their painful songs into a thing of beauty.
RaveFinancial Times...a dazzling novel ... Charlie is arts, Helen is science; Charlie is black, Helen is white ... That their polarisation does not feel contrived is a testament to Freudenberger’s writing. Helen is a brilliant character, entirely unaware that she keeps at arm’s length the people to whom she is devoted ... One needs to be prepared for such asides as \'previous studies had relied on simplified globular cluster models and assumed a static mass for the black holes in each group\' (it is to Freudenberger’s credit that such a sentence began to make sense to me). But the physics pays off in the narrative as a sequence of delicate, apposite metaphors.
RaveThe Financial TimesDunmore is a lovely and deceptively understated writer, able to evoke passion and rage with ease and elegance. Her prose is restrained and thoughtful, and Elizabeth and Diner and even scrappy Philo, the servant girl, feel authentic and vivid, brought to life with just a few strokes ... In the tradition of Rebecca West, Dunmore is skilled at claiming the huge canvasses of history and painting upon them exquisitely detailed human tragedies ... The Revolution powers this novel but it is a huge, low thrumming invisible engine beneath it, and the consequences that concern and engage us are the private, the personal. Every scene is saturated with vivid period detail but Dunmore’s touch is feather-light, and the result makes for a satisfying and deceptively easy read.
RaveThe Financial TimesForest Dark is a richly layered masterpiece; creative, profound, insightful, deeply serious, effortlessly elegant, both human and humane. Krauss is a poet and a philosopher, and this latest work does what only the very best fiction can do — startles, challenges and enlightens the reader, while showing the familiar world anew ... To get lost in Forest Dark is to wonder. It is a pleasure and a privilege to read, confronting our estrangement from the unknown, 'which once lay glittering at the farthest edge of our gaze, channelling our fear but also our hope and longing.'
RaveThe Financial TimesWith his second novel, Dinner at the Centre of the Earth, he has chosen the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as his subject, and has made a stylistic departure. This is a literary spy thriller … With touches of magical realism and seams of absurdist romp, this is partly a political thriller, partly a howl of grief for the collapse of the peace process, and partly an allegorical romance — though this last, in particular, is introduced too late for real integration into the novel as a whole, at a point at which the reader’s attention, and heart, is already fully committed elsewhere. Not for the shifts in perspective but for the sudden shifts in tone, I found myself reading it as another short-story collection. While it’s not the novel I expected, seen in that light Englander is as wise and funny and original and moving as ever.
RaveThe Financial Times...[a] haunting and elegant novel ... Messud dissects and displays for us what it means to inhabit a female body in 21st-century America. Julia begins to feel her new womanhood as a form of slow imprisonment ... Here is a parable in which growing up a girl is a treacherous business. Messud is magnificent on female fury, as she demonstrated in The Woman Upstairs, an exquisite study of a more sinister friendship. Though Julia herself has not yet learned to be angry, The Burning Girl is an astute, subtle novel that conceals an eloquent and clear-eyed rage simmering beneath its surface — rage against the limitations imposed on young women by society, by social class, by sex, and by the ever-present threat of violence against them for which they are still taught to take responsibility.