PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewTaken together and arranged largely chronologically (both in terms of when they were written and the protagonists’ advancing ages), the stories are more postcards from a writer’s beginnings and her artistic, spiritual and emotional evolution than full-fledged narratives in their own right ... In some stories, the philosophical and uncanny are tethered to the ocean and the cosmos. Some of the earlier stories read more like fragments and incidents than complete narratives. In L’Engle’s parlance, they appear to the reader like stars. They flicker, not fully visible, but stirring nonetheless ... reflects not only L’Engle’s growth as a writer but her search for her own personal philosophy, one that ultimately recognized opportunity and authenticity in nonconformity. When encountered in this particular moment, her comfort with duality — with writing for children and adults, joining realism and fantasy, science and theology — evokes nostalgia for a time when science and religion were not so regularly and blatantly weaponized for political ends. The label of \'New Age\' be damned, L’Engle shared with her readers her great capacity for wonder, and her refreshingly earnest desire to tunnel deep inside the human heart and expose its power to generate and regenerate hope and love — even in the face of eviscerating darkness.
PositiveThe Boston GlobeLike its train, the story blasts through the stagnation of these lives in suburban London and the reader cannot help but turn pages. But there is a promise in the first half of the book of something deeper at work … Some of the strongest passages are when these two women are allowed to stop and think, to try to understand their own dilemmas and the ensuing ramifications, rather than being shoved forward along the tracks of the sleek plot. Here and there, especially as the book progresses, one craves to see and hear them as the distinct, recognizable women they are, rather than the types that they increasingly become … An absorbing read.
Kaui Hart Hemmings
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewAn entertaining portrait of an economically comfortable place and people, this novel gives us a rainbow of cringe-worthy parents ... Hemmings perfectly captures modern parenthood among the privileged and, with moments of concise poignancy, the silent shames of motherhood: envy, boredom, laziness and guilt.
PanThe New York Times Book ReviewOn display is the author’s characteristic mix of salty language and broad humor, warmth and truth-telling ... Both Zipless.com and Isadora — who appears infrequently, for the most part dispensing quippy advice and then disappearing — are superfluous, perhaps brought in to draw more readers or to leaven a book that’s primarily about aging and death ... Throughout Fear of Dying, however, Vanessa’s narration is disjointed. Tender, smart passages that ponder the meaning of growing old and the pain of aging in a culture that largely ignores its older women are interspersed with disappointing shtick about Zipless.com or circumcision or shopping.