PositiveThe Star Tribune... a series of melancholy meditations on death, grief and travel ... Van den Berg’s characters often challenge the accuracy of memory as well as of seemingly objective matters ... All of the work has a dangerous, eerie charge ... This is one of van den Berg’s strengths: The mundane becomes swiftly, surprisingly, sinister.
RaveThe Minneapolis Star TribuneIn the early pages of this fragmented work, readers might assume Weiner’s project will be the mirthful undoing of Mark and Karen Breakstone, who are as insecure as they are spoiled. With the introduction of Robert ‘Bobby’ Klasky, Weiner strips the story of its luxurious gloss … Bobby’s fixation on adolescent Heather is a major source of the novel’s tension; however, Weiner’s seemingly uncomplicated prose is rich with subtext. The language is infused with the Breakstones’ tacit critiques … Weiner seems less interested in the idea of totality as wholeness — readers see only a few years of Heather’s life — but of total eclipse. At times, Heather is impossible to see, caught between Mark’s protective scrutiny and Bobby’s sinister watch, in this dark, intelligent debut.
PositiveThe Minneapolis Star TribuneDeborah Willis delivers exemplary models of the form. Set in various Canadian towns, the stories feature a broad range of characters, each portrayed in strikingly confident prose ... Willis specializes in such images of grotesque intimacy ... When restricting herself to the events of a single night, Willis writes impeccably. The stories that stretch to accommodate a greater scope of time are less refined, and lack the precision of their companions. In writing such beautiful stories, Willis must meet the repeated challenge of making her next story as good as the last.
PositiveThe Minneapolis Star TribuneIncreasingly, Faye’s brevity and reticence come to resemble a form of intimacy between her and the reader ... How much should we say, this novel asks, and when should we say it? To whom? In Cusk’s case, a few words are enough to keep readers engrossed, waiting for more.