RaveThe Brooklyn RailEntering into this book is like leaping into a pool either a little too hot or a little too cold—it’s bracing at first, but then you adapt and cannot imagine any other pool ... a book that aims at—and becomes—the animating, unflinching epic poem of Queens, NY ... Like most good books, Dear Miss Metropolitan defies easy summary ... a fractured and frenetic structure that describes the characters’ ongoing temporal dislocation. The book is jarring in subject matter and delivery, and I will make no attempt to make it less so. Ferrell’s prose has a patter and a pulse, which is to say it is language that has been truly composed. Sometimes we listen in on distilled minds, voices offering inner monologues or answering questionnaires, and on occasion the writing is like the whole of a culture, approximated in words ... In breadth and skill, insight and innovation, Dear Miss Metropolitan takes its place alongside Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 among the most profound works of literature to have emerged from crimes so horrific they became international sensations. Years in the making, emerging from a mind transformed by decades in a chrysalis, the book leaves one heaving a glorious sigh, feeling that it was well worth the wait, and harboring a secret hope that the next cocoon will crack more quickly.
RaveThe Brooklyn RailDelicate, intelligent, and conscientiously slight ... It’s precisely because Joy Enough is about what women must do and be to survive the ongoing epidemic of toxic masculinity (i.e., Western Civilization) that men should feel compelled to read this book and absorb, yes, its lesson ... McColl’s genius is perhaps the recognition that however anxious we might be, the best way to remember a parent is to be true to the sticky moral residue they leave behind.
PositiveThe Brooklyn Rail...imagine a plot hybrid of Dickens and George Saunders—but I’m not going to tell you about that because I think what happens is less important than all that weirdness ... Where the Dead Sit Talking, then—in its affecting affectlessness—is a Native American novel about the failure of Native American novels to bring meaning to Native American lives ... Reading Hobson is like being up in that heaven, fixed and distant, watching his characters scurry about in pursuit of their spirits and their fates.
MixedThe San Francisco ChronicleSubstitute lacks anything resembling a thesis or stated argument, but soon enough it becomes clear that Baker believes it’s a waste of time to stuff children full of grammar and Algebra II when what they need is a good dose of existential philosophy ... each teaching day becomes a narrative case study, in which Baker ricochets between frustration and his unaccountable love of students, and one can’t help but autonomously arrive at the conclusion that Baker surely shares: It’s time to rethink our schools, our curriculum.
PositiveLos Angeles Review of BooksThe Dead Ladies Project is a sometimes rollicking, sometimes panicked, but always insightful and moving chronicle of a series of intellectual apprenticeships, with 'guides' ranging from writers to philosophers to editors to composers. To give her investigations flesh, Crispin visits European cities important to each of her mentors’ lives, making her study at the same time a journey, an Intellectual Grand Tour.