PositiveBookforum\"Shalmiyev builds her compelling new book out of... fragments ... Shalmiyev will often relate a wrenching incident from her past—her father’s physical abuse, for instance—somewhat flatly, and then never return to it. In memoirs, trauma usually comes with a lesson; out of pieces, we’re supposed to assemble a workable whole. But damage, sculpted into a story, is still damage. Shalmiyev refuses to arrange it into something comforting.\
RaveBookforumIn Jessica Hopper’s new book, Night Moves, a memoir of her younger years in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood ... Hopper has been the music editor at Rookie and Pitchfork, and she has published music journalism for more than twenty years. But her writing started in that \'little fanzine,\' and the scrappy enthusiasm of zine culture permeates Night Moves. Using her journals from 2004 through 2009, she creates a collage of her past. These vignettes jump from descriptions of the neighborhood to scene reports to remembered conversations. The prose is at once detailed and casual.
MixedBarnes & Noble ReviewKushner is a hugely compelling prose stylist, switching easily between viewpoints and voices, and seamlessly incorporating narrative flourishes ... Beyond these rhetorical skills, she is a writer who has proven her commitment to the task of situating the political within the personal to demonstrate how one cannot be unstitched from the other ... But no amount of speculative personal history or meticulous research—and her research is vast, providing a fabric of detail and fact so complete that its seams do not show during The Mars Room’s heartbreaking deep dive into the prison-industrial complex—is quite sufficient to dispel the novel’s inherent queasiness ... a novel such as this one raises difficult questions of how privilege determines who gets to tell stories.
PositiveThe New Republic[Kitamura] chooses to engage the themes in A Separation precisely because they are at the heart of the idea of the literary novel; she approaches them with full knowledge of both their weight and their diminishing relevance ... By pairing these two genres, Kitamura demonstrates that love is itself an investigation, an attempt to get to answers of another human individual as though they were a crime scene. When we are betrayed, when love breaks apart, we all become amateur Sherlock Holmeses, seeking out meaning in every gesture and detail, seizing on any crumb of information as a clue to what we have lost ... Kitamura’s novel examines the uselessness of this plot, of marriage as a failed form of translation. The ultimate subject here is futility. Not the futility of marriage as an enterprise—we know that already—but the futility of its narrative examination. At the end of this detective novel, the detective leaves us with no answers at all.
MixedThe Barnes & Noble ReviewThrough her extreme confessions, Broder wants to offer her readers the same thing she herself is seeking: the chance to confess one’s most loathsome truths and receive love in return ... The things that made Broder 'good at twitter,' are often the least interesting in prose. When our emotions become memes, not just performed, but performable in a way that’s already laid out in pre-ordained steps, our ability to jolt readers into empathy is diluted ... Broder’s writing is most effective when it departs from the twitter account and follows the dictates of traditional memoir writing.