PositiveBookPage\"Loedel’s prose is clean, tight and engaging, with a rhythm that invites you to keep reading and to see where the story goes and what sense you can make of it. Most interesting, perhaps, are the questions posed: What does it mean to be a hero or to be complicit in a dangerous regime? What choices do we really have? Who are we, and who did we imagine we would become?
Even as the novel invites questions and focuses on language rather than answers, the reader won’t be able to look away. They will bear witness to human choice and compunction, to love and loss, to the fantasy that helps make sense of what is real.\
RaveBookPage... weaves a remarkable tale across centuries, landscapes and human lives ... Each story is rich with characters, ideas and keenly imagined moments. The points of connection, however, are what make the text compelling and open to so much discovery ... As characters, objects and phrases appear and reappear, time blends, and the questions of what makes us who we are, how our choices impact our futures and how other people perceive us become central to the telling ... The prose is engaging, asking you to keep up as the story jumps from ending to beginning, tangling time and stretching the edge of what a narrative can do. There’s a tension between wanting to read quickly, to let yourself be absorbed in this fantastical and real world, or slowing down to allow each story to breathe. The beauty here is the multiplicity of the reading experiences, of the chance to do both, as each iteration of the novel asks different questions and demands a different mode of attention from the reader.
RaveBookPageIt isn’t a mystery, yet in many ways, Jill McCorkle’s Hieroglyphics builds like one as characters appear, slowly reveal more of their pasts and secrets and eventually expose their connections and how the story fits together. Overlapping memories—of the things one tries to bury or make sense of—create layers of meaning for the characters and their children, whose voices compose the story with a range of experiences and perspectives. The prose is magnetic, drawing you in and holding your attention as questions slowly turn into answers ... As the parental figures struggle with their histories, choices and actions, it is through the lens of the children that these secrets find power and meaning. This echo, this sense of connectedness, of how we care for and hurt each other, gives the novel a clear resonance.
RaveBookPage... richly told ... Bakopoulos’ prose is descriptive, full of images and details, and yet some sentences are so clear and axiomatic that the reader may need to pause and think, recognizing truths they’ve always known. In a certain way, reading Scorpionfish is a rereading, a remarkable recognition of how language can work, how grief and love and loss can be so particular, so meaningful, so universal—and how words can make those resonances propulsive and haunting.
RaveBookPageDaisy Johnson’s control of language keeps the reader utterly engaged in her new novel ... The novel raises many questions, and even as it poses some answers through July and September’s story, many other curiosities—delightfully—remain ... Sisters casts a spell, and Johnson’s ability to make her language twist and turn, to hint and suggest at something much larger, is truly remarkable.
Quế Mai Phan Nguyễn
PositiveBookPage... fascinating ... Quế Mai is an acclaimed Vietnamese poet, and her vivid images, along with the simplicity of her prose, make the novel propulsive and haunting in its depiction of a deep, nuanced landscape ... While many recent novels from authors like Ocean Vuong and Viet Thanh Nguyen give glimpses of the Vietnamese American experience, The Mountains Sing offers a tale of Vietnamese history through a Vietnamese lens: neighbors caring for and turning against each other, families split apart by war and attempts at reunification on various scales ... Hương and Diệu Lan are remarkably drawn characters. They’re complex, likable, flawed women, and each is searching to connect with family and understand her community and history. Their pain and joy make the novel and landscape sing.