RaveNPRThree Strong Women is a major work of world literature, and one that deserves a readership in English as well as in French ... NDiaye\'s book is hardly the modish \'interlocking narratives\' novel it first appears to be. The author shows Norah from all angles — as a woman, a daughter, a lover, a sister — but our second strong woman is in fact largely absent. Instead, the author follows her impulsive and paranoid husband over the course of an epically horrible day ... NDiaye\'s prose, rendered into mostly supple English by John Fletcher, luxuriates in paragraph-long introspection and occasionally dips into the supernatural ... Her rich, sensuous style takes some getting used to. But give it time. Three Strong Women is a rare novel, capturing the grand scope of migration, from Africa to Europe and back, and the inner lives of very different people caught between pride and despair.
MixedThe New York Review of Books... an expansive bildungsroman of a gay American in Prague in 1990–1991 ... For the first two thirds of the book I found myself impatient with Crain’s gentle countenancing of these Brooklynites’ supposed clairvoyance, and aghast at the suggestion that homosexuality and extrasensory perception might somehow work together ... It comes as a great Hegelian relief when Crain finally reveals, at the top of the third act, that the password reading was all a joke and that the contractor’s server was rigged to entice a hack, with no need for telepathy ... These pathetic Brooklynites have had a dreadful lesson: the materialists were right all along. Politics, and love too, are matters of this world only, metaphysical poetry has no greater application than adorning a bicep, and God really is dead. That a reader might have feared otherwise has to do less with genre—Overthrow has no especial engagement with science fiction or other fantastical modes—than with the sensitivity and softness Crain brings to his characterizations and the weightlessness with which he sketches its New York setting ... Much of it comes to us in a style that isn’t so much recherché as agreeably unfashionable, with frequent third-person Jamesian reflections on what one character means to another in abstract terms. And all of it takes place in a peskily scrubbed New York, a city that defines Overthrow yet refuses to appear ... Like few other novels, and certainly more than you’d expect from its Jamesian flights, Overthrow pays exquisite care to personal technology, with precise descriptions of which characters have what kinds of phones at what moments. Crain is not exactly subtle about this ... Any successful resistance to this doleful new technological-authoritarian dispensation looks doubtful at best; it will certainly not pass through tarot cards and seventeenth-century poetry, and the humanist \'friction\' that...I suspect, Crain would have me muster can offer barely more than temporary personal relief.
Edouard Louis, Trans. by Lorin Stein
MixedThe New York Review of Books\"... a short pamphlet of fewer than a hundred pages, with none of the precision or seriousness of [Louis\'s] two novels ... whisper-thin but thick with fury ... The social determinism of History of Violence has hardened into dogma now, and in Who Killed My Father Louis takes it to extremes ... Louis is only twenty-six. He has time enough to step back from the sudden fame centered on his own autobiography and to formulate a politics that treats racism and homophobia, not to mention rape and attempted murder, as more than epiphenomena.\
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review...her insights into the institutional construction of artistic greatness remain both uncommonly muscular and dismally relevant ... This is a short book, and rushed in places. Nochlin pans a “farcical” exhibition on prostitution at Paris’s Musée d’Orsay in just a few sentences, without much detail, and her assessment of four Irish hunger memorials is also slim — she concedes that she could not travel to see most of them. What endures in this final book, though, is a fixation with the past as a portal to present misères.