RaveThe New York Journal of Books... [a] mesmeric and unsettling tour de force ... a novel at once deeply personal and intensely political ... The solidarity between these four traumatized victims stands as a testament to human capacity for connection ... modern realism at its finest: a tale of moral challenge in the spirit Theodore Dreiser wrapped inside a big-hearted social epic like The Grapes of Wrath. Cummins, whose author’s note reveals that her husband was once an undocumented immigrant, has clearly done extensive research to capture the wide swath of Mexican experience that she explores with subtlety and persuasive authenticity ... is also an indictment. And as with many of the strongest of literary indictments, its power comes from its specificity...he ghastly suffering of Lydia and Soledad—while technically fictional—proves fore more agonizing than any expansive general commentary on the abuse of migrants could ever be ... the novel truly earns its bloodshed, implicitly making the case that such violent epic is needed at present ... going to be the defining book of 2020, the volume that bring the atrocities of our failed immigration policy into the book clubs and bookshops and kitchens of American men and women just like Lydia. Cumming and her writing will most certainly be nominated for major awards and may even win. These prizes will certainly be deserved. But for Lydia’s sake, and Luca’s, and Soledad’s, and the many thousands suffering like them, what matters most about the book is that readers remember why it had to be written. And that, for now, nothing has changed.
PositiveThe New York Journal of Books... a deeply researched and daring revisionist history ... Cahalan takes apart Rosenhan’s work as though disassembling a jigsaw puzzle. By the conclusion of the narrative, one wonders whether Rosenhan did anything that could meaningfully be described as research at all ... is about far more than one researcher—however prominent—and the influence of his misconduct. Cahalan places his story in the context of a much larger crisis in the field, a veritable unraveling ... Cahalan’s research is dogged and her narrative riveting, leading us from red herring to clue and back with the dexterity of the best mystery novelists. Then she builds her case like a skilled prosecuting attorney ... Yet in the end, her verdict is somewhat tempered ... She describes the study as \'flawed\' rather than fabricated—refusing to weigh in on whether the missing six pseudopatients exist at all. But like Peter Falk as the television detective, Columbo, one senses she is asking questions to which deep down she now already knows the answers. Sometimes, in spite of the overwhelming evidence, it can be hard to voice a final diagnosis.
RaveNew York Journal of BooksCapturing any lost world with authenticity and precision is a literary challenge, but in our own age of cynicism, bringing to life the naïve hopes and clean-cut promise of baby boom America in a manner that can convince present-day readers is a particularly daunting task. Fortunately, Lisa Howorth’s charming, impeccably detailed Summerlings is a rare gemstone of a novel that proves both emotionally resonant and truly transporting ... The large, distinctive cast of secondary characters prove an ensemble as compelling as any in recent fiction ... Summerlings is a poignant exploration of childhood innocence as grand as the hopes of its delightful and motley cast of characters.
Joshua D. Mezrich
RaveNew York Journal of BooksAlthough the formal organization of When Death Becomes Life begins with the history of transplantation and then shifts to stories of individual patient experiences, the effect is that readers are first introduced to the endeavor’s scientific hurdles and then to its ethical quandaries ... In narrating the history, Mezrich renders a century of technical innovations as gripping as any gumshoe potboiler by Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett ... To his credit, Mezrich approaches these pioneers [of transplantation] with reverence, but also with a dispassionate eye. He is quick to call out conduct that strikes him as unseemly or even unethical ... Into these patient narratives, Mezrich masterfully weaves many of the most unsettling ethical questions surrounding modern transplantation ... The volume is also striking for its resounding eloquence, all the more remarkable for a physician writing a first book.
PositiveThe Collagist\"Rogoff brings to life the allure and mystery of summer camp, but also the unique nostalgia that summer camp engenders—both in real time and then with each passing year ... Not all of the questions raised by Thin Rising Vapors, either factual or thematic, are answered in the text. Nevertheless, the novel\'s conclusion proves highly satisfactory. Rogoff displays a notable gift for recognizing what to share and what to withhold, and precisely when in the narrative to do each...\
RaveNew York Journal of BooksThe author strikes like an earthquake in a land that hardly recalls mild tremors, evoking quivers of awe at both the power of the written word and the scope of human imagination ... What is remarkable about The Wrong Heaven is that it is not only a brilliant story collection, but also a manifesto-in-action announcing what the contemporary short story should be ... In Bonnaffons’s micro-universes, the rules change suddenly, often inexplicably—and the test is how the characters accept or reject those surprises ... the striking and unflappable facility with which her characters address their new realities is something novel and breathtaking ... The Wrong Heaven never disappoints ... She is also an intensely wise writer who has a keen sense for the pulse of this complex moment in history—who has written stories in which facts, if not truth, are always negotiable.
PositiveNew York Journal of Books\"In Natural Causes, she brandishes her stiletto against the body of evidence behind the contemporary wellness movement and leaves a rather bloodied carcass in her wake ... Natural Causes also tackles more traditional forms of preventive medicine. Ehrenreich questions the structure of a medical education system that drains the trainees emotionally and depersonalizes the physician-patient experience ... The value of Natural Causes lies not in its particular critiques, some of which will likely age better than others. (For now, this reviewer still plans on getting a colonoscopy.) But Ehrenreich has a gift for enabling readers to recognize their own blind spots—to call into question the very foundations of the ordered universe in which many of us believe we live.\