RaveThe New York Times Book Review... propulsive, fiercely confident ... To her great credit, Taddeo resists the pressure—rampant these days—to craft a likable, \'relatable\' female narrator. In Animal she gleefully does the opposite ... Taddeo can write a killer sentence ... She’s at her best when exploring the murky, sometimes twisted relations between men and women ... If all this sounds far-fetched, it is. Taddeo isn’t a subtle writer. But what she lacks in nuance, she makes up for in bravado, psychological acuity and sly wit. Joan’s voice is so sharp and magnetic that the reader will follow her anywhere—even to the dark and increasingly unbelievable depths her creator sends her ... The world of Animal is relentlessly bleak. If its particulars don’t always make sense, its values at least remain consistent ... Writing a novel is a shell game—an elaborate con in which the author aims to dazzle with what she does well, in hopes of distracting the reader from what she can’t do at all. Taddeo’s prose glitters. She has a gift for aphorism, the observation that astonishes. She is less successful at imagining the shape of a life. As the story unfolds, Joan’s depravity has a numbing effect, and the unremitting degeneracy of the male characters begins to seem didactic. The intention seems less to shine a light on human nature than to cast it in funhouse shapes ... Taddeo is writing with all her stars out, though they shone a little brighter when life itself supplied the plot.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review...engrossing, highly readable, darkly sexy ... [a] transporting novel ... Solomon is a truth teller. Her observations of domestic life — rote marital sex, the steady drip of compromise, the sine wave of intimacy and irritation — are unfailingly sharp ... The Book of V. is a meditation on female power and powerlessness, the stories told about women and the ones we tell about and to ourselves.
Harriet Alida Lye
RaveThe New York Times\"It’s a satisfying setup, reminiscent of an Agatha Christie mystery, the entire cast of characters marooned together in an exotic locale. Strange events ensue. Silvia drinks from a garden hose and finds the water blood-colored. The group is afflicted with head lice. A swim in a murky pond disturbs an unimaginable number of frogs, which soon infiltrate the house. The incidents seem related to an unprecedented drought that’s making the bees anxious. Clearly, evil is afoot ... The writing is uneven, but Lye is at her best when describing the natural world ... When it comes to creating suspense, The Honey Farm succeeds almost too well.