RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewJain moves skillfully between other people’s points of view, revealing pieces of the truth along with what characters hope to present as such ... Other than the most powerful white men in the novel, who manipulate others to get what they want without compunction, each character inspires some level of empathy and understanding. That we don’t return to Chiara’s point of view until the very end, when we learn what actually happened, is a brilliant and heart-wrenching move on Jain’s part ... As readers, we are so often given feel-good stories of people surmounting the odds, of justice being wrangled back into the hands of those who deserve it. Instead of that, in a novel that will leave you aching — and thinking — Jain asks us to consider what a world might look like if justice really were for everyone.
RaveNew York Times Book ReviewOne of the many wonderful things about Atomic Anna, a book about Chernobyl, yes, but also about comic books, the power of math, finding one’s truth, and love, both biological and found, is the core group of women who ground it ... The novel is masterfully plotted — one has to imagine an enormous whiteboard was involved as the author charted out what any given move might set in motion, each outcome with its own stack of connected dominoes.
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewMcNamer is a wordsmith of rare artistry who can take your breath away with a sentence describing a fairly average habit of weather. She’s funny too, combining flawless prose with cutting cultural commentary ... But McNamer’s characters are the true prize, what with the multitudes they contain and the way their stories slowly unspool and intermingle ... Even when it hurts — and, if you have anything in the way of feelings, this novel will make you weep — Aviary is a cleansing antidote to the last few years of political and cultural turmoil, a salve to combat our still-raging health crisis, a tonic for our social media spinout ... this quietly important book offers hope as it tackles grief and isolation and our essential humanity. It is an incontrovertible fact that we live and we inevitably die. Yet, we’re here until we’re not, and it’s what we do while we’re here that changes everything. That, you might say, is the secret of ongoingness.