RaveThe New York Times Book Review\"... beautifully rendered, deeply affecting, thoroughly thoughtful and surprisingly prescient ... In so many ways, this summary might suggest that this is a novel whose contents and relevance to our world are next to nonexistent. On the contrary, this medieval whodunit miraculously captures the otherworldly, fish-out-of-water, discombobulating experience of being a liberal American today ... Harvey’s is a story of suspense, yes. It is a story of a community crowded with shadows and secrets. But to read this novel is to experience a kind of catharsis ... Harvey delivers a singular character at once completely unfamiliar and wholly universal.\
RaveThe New York Times Book Review... a powerhouse of a first story collection notable for its temerity and its skilled combination of humor and insight. Awarded the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction by Ben Marcus (who praised its 'piercing' wisdom and 'destabilizing insight'), this is — seriously — a laugh-out-loud collection as wise as it is funny. Take this line from the final story: 'I think a teenage daughter must be like one of those lawn ornaments everybody has, one of those grotesque little gnomes that are so useless and absurd you don’t even need to look at them.' It’s a funny image, made funnier by the fact that the speaker is herself a teenage daughter.
RaveThe Washington Independent Review of BooksCertainly, female friendship as a subject is not new territory, not for Claire Messud and not for the literary canon ... The list goes on and on, and it finds a solid and confident addition in The Burning Girl ... We witness the girls as they are reckless, secretive, sincere, and vulnerable ... The plot, if there is one, is the slow reveal of what happens to Cassie and to the girls’ friendship ...Messud as soothsayer, the narrator feeling at times too wise and too precise for her age or experiences. But in these moments, I was not disappointed, in part because the message was too bright and the language too good ...left me breathless, contemplative, and also somewhat curious: breathless for its beautiful articulation, contemplative at its content, and curious about its (and Messud’s) true motivation ...no doubt about this novel’s merit or Messud’s virtuosity.
MixedThe New York Times Book ReviewThe suspense of Reid’s novel depends heavily on this interspersed dialogue: Who are these people? we wonder...While this bait-and-switch tactic is by no means a flaw — the early instances are especially effective in encouraging the reader to continue — by the novel’s end they come to feel more gimmicky than earned ... Reid’s mystery feels more non-diegetic than it needs to be ... The ending hastily disposes of unexplained and unnecessary red herrings, and the revelation is at once too tidy and too convenient to be satisfying.