RaveThe Paris ReviewThe fiery, beguiling stories in Taeko Kōno’s collection Toddler Hunting and Other Stories are vertiginous tightrope walks between two planes of reality ... These stories have no interest in closure, not even oblique closure. Like those of many other good short stories, the ending of a Kōno story is narratively definitive. (A story can be ruined by stopping too early or too late; good stories have a sense of exactly when they become narratively definitive.) But somewhere right before the end, the story has taken a sharp, dizzying turn, so that when it finally lands, it is in a place that is not merely surprising and inevitable but on a different plane entirely, one removed from the established reality. The effect is profoundly unsettling. When I think of a Taeko Kōno story, I picture a glass filling with liquid. As the story reaches its end, the glass is filled to the brim. But in the final moment, the liquid spills over the side and lands on the surface below. That new plane, something that we hadn’t even considered before, is now—surprisingly yet inevitably—stained ... Kōno’s writing is shocking, ominous, and subversive; it lays bare the destruction and the renewal that freedom and desire can cause.
RaveThe Los Angeles Times\"...[a] wonderful, essential new collection ... These 45 career-spanning stories contain more artistry, humor, eyebrow-raising plot turns, and surprising diction than seems possible in one book ... [\'Like a Leaf\'] is one of the book\'s best stories, an extraordinary depiction of loneliness and psychological disturbance ... at the most elemental level, the true pleasure of these stories is that page after page can be read for both plot and language. Compelling and sometimes astonishing events are rendered through prose that\'s compelling and often astonishing. The stakes always feel high (characters can die and do die), and there\'s no such thing as a not-funny McGuane story. The result is a continuous succession of storytelling delights.\