RaveThe RumpusLike the millennium-spanning introduction and the lengthy examination of library architecture, enormous amounts of Life Is Everywhere feel, at first, like needless digression—and perhaps they would be, in the hands of a lesser writer—but these offshoots add depth, texture, and an experimental flourish to the structure of the book ... It all might sound a little meta, a little MFA-program, but Ives pulls it off in part thanks to an unshakable confidence in what she is attempting, and the fact that she can write. On a sentence level, the book is full of personality, stunning imagery, and ever-deepening philosophical roots ... The novel’s form is a miraculous, shapeshifting thing, changing at a moment’s notice. Ives radically, deftly reinvents herself throughout ... shatters any kind of straightforward narrative arc in favor of a collage of shards that emphasizes the tone, atmosphere, and the general experience of life in the world at a particular moment. And it wouldn’t work were Ives not a Big Ideas writer on the level of Gaddis, or DeLillo, or Wallace. Fortunately for all of us, she is ... a truly spectacular gestalt that requires every one of its 472 pages. To reveal too many of its tricks would take away from the joy in experiencing all of the disparate parts that make up the whole. In the end, Life is Everywhere is the funny, heartbreaking, and incredibly complex story of how a woman ends up sending a petty email—revolving around a pun, no less, on the word \'work,\' referring to both a person’s career and to cosmetic surgery (\'having work done\'). It’s a minor event, this email, but it is one that would not have been possible without thousands of years-worth of human history transpiring exactly as they did. We should be thankful, too, that human history has run a course that allows us to read a writer operating on the level that Ives does, able to see the individual threads that we follow through the world writ large.