RaveThe New York Times Book Review... a bold, witty, ominous and vulnerable second book of stories that is as resolute and original as its author ... Some entries are only paragraphs long, but even then, from their opening lines, Blackburn’s assured prose and patterned cadences spark the characters and their voices to life, holding the reader hostage to the tales that unfold ... There are longer, meatier stories in the collection, but Blackburn’s economy of language is masterly. With detailed imagery, keen observation and an ability to subvert expectations, Blackburn commands the page in few words ... the stories in this half offer a tapestry of one character’s experiences, within an inventive structure that varies in form, comprising straight narrative as well as grief logs, crossword puzzles and quizzes ... Though a few stories read more like fragmentary situations, How to Wrestle a Girl shines in its propensity to magnify small moments, challenge our presumptions and dissect the beauty, danger and wonder of girlhood ... throughout this intimate collection, Blackburn renders her characters’ interiority artfully, with emotional precision — unearthing things we often leave unsaid. And we’re fortunate she does, because in the narrator’s words, The most frightening things that eat up our lives can’t be seen.
Fernanda Melchor, Trans. by Sophie Hughes
RavePloughshares... pummels the reader in a torrent of unrelenting sentences that are gripping and ghastly, forcing a critical look at society ... structurally poignant ... unveils the complexity and complications of living in a small town where people like their \'gossip served hot\' ... Translated with astute grit, rawness, and unsparing vulgarity ... Within the chaos that ensues, it’d be remiss to ignore the passion, if not love, that also runs through the novel ... Though the issues explored in Melchor’s stirring novel are undoubtedly specific to rural Mexico, and Mexico at large, they are far from unfamiliar to the rest of Latin America and the greater world ... It’s exactly this comfort in the grotesque, the casual nature of it, that is ultimately the most disturbing yet captivating aspect of the novel. A debut that dares you to put it down, Melchor’s Hurricane Season drowns its reader in ominous truth, accentuating real life through fiction.
RavePloughsharesPerry’s wholehearted and sincere letter to her sons is part of her rearing, one in which she learns, too, telling them \'. . . you teach me who you are much better than I teach you who I think you should be.\' And in that revelation, Perry achieves her task of feeding and nourishing her sons while allowing space for them to feed themselves. It is the manifestation of the love and dreams of a Black mother for her Black sons. It is the realization of the \'radical discipline of becoming.\'
PositiveColumbia JournalA novel of humble length, The Nickel Boys delivers devastating truths through the honesty and precision of Whitehead’s prose. Effortlessly weaving temporal narratives, Whitehead makes clear that even if you survive Nickel, freedom is not guaranteed ... What The Nickel Boys undoubtedly achieves is the voice it provides to a muted chorus of untold truths and histories that are waiting to sing, waiting to be heard.