PositiveBooklistAt its best, the collection is an excellent homage to George Saunders, with its strange details and forms efficiently pulling readers to the emotional heart of a story. But sometimes the stories feel zany just for the sake of zaniness, their human elements buried beneath a slick guise of goofiness. Still, Bob-Waksberg’s fiction debut will capture many readers with its formal innovation, playful language, and relatable portraits of romance gone awry.
PositiveBooklistIrish writer Connell gives readers a tight debut memoir of farming and personal reflection ... In short, sometimes clipped, sentences, Connell flirts with melodrama...but he is mostly successful in negotiating the risk of sentimentality. The Farmer’s Son echoes Aldo Leopold’s articulation of the land ethic, Michael Pollan’s writing on the food chain, and Ivan Doig’s plain-language music. Admirers of these writers will celebrate the entrance of Connell’s strong and distinct voice.
PositiveBooklistLargely an exploration of the memory work of memoirists, it might lack thrust if Rock didn’t so beautifully layer vivid details into scenes that seem more conjured than written. This genre-bending autobiographical novel occasionally spends too long in dreamland with the narrator, who uses a faculty grant to float in an isolation tank as part of a book project. But these overly dreamy sections are only short digressions in an undeniably lovely novel.