PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewMarlon James\'s powerful first novel is more than a theological contest pitting a ferocious god against a passive one ... communal fears, set against...two preachers\' spiritual crises, turn John Crow\'s Devil into a psychological novel with a difference—an exploration of internal neuroses that have increasingly surreal external manifestations ... Writing with assurance and control, James uses his small-town drama to suggest the larger anguish of a postcolonial society struggling for its own identity. But he mixes this with an evocation of a cultlike religious fervor that recalls the People\'s Temple and the Jonestown massacre of the 1970\'s.
PositiveThe New York TimesAt first, Bel Canto seems a departure for Patchett, whose previous novels have demonstrated her precise eye for the shadings of human interaction played out on small stage ... Unfortunately, Patchett strains a bit too hard to give the revolutionaries similar dimensions ... Nevertheless, especially early on, Bel Canto often shows Patchett doing what she does best -- offering fine insights into the various ways in which human connections can be forged, whatever pressures the world may place upon them.
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewFor a first novelist, in fact for any novelist, Charles Frazier has taken on a daunting task — and has done extraordinarily well by it. In prose filled with grace notes and trenchant asides, he has reset much of the Odyssey in 19th-century America, near the end of the Civil War ... The author's Ithaca lies deep within the Carolina mountains and is the elusive goal of his Odysseus, a wounded Confederate veteran named Inman...he resolves to reclaim himself and his humanity by fleeing the hospital where he is recovering, returning to his home and to Ada, his Penelope...both of Frazier's characters are between their pasts and their futures, escaping the former and traveling toward the latter ... A wealth of finely realized supporting characters gives Frazier's novel a subtext of richness and subtlety.