RaveThe Memphis FlyerSome books get into you, worming their way into your psyche. Scenes from their pages bubble up from the depths of your mind at the oddest times. You’re doing the dishes, listening to an album or a podcast, and a snippet of remembered dialogue sends shivers down your spine. When the last page is turned, these books leave a void in their wake. Gus Moreno’s This Thing Between Us is such a book ... Moreno writes about feelings and experiences for which words can never be big enough. And he does it, not only with skill and grace, but with a grasp of genre capable of igniting a page-turning frenzy in the reader ... Along with Moreno’s atmospheric approach, much of the heavy lifting is taken care of, leaving the reader’s imagination wide margins to conjure its own fears to fill the space ... One can’t help but hope that, when faced with the unfathomable, Thiago will summon the strength to save himself. In the end, Moreno’s This Thing Between Us does what only the best horror can — gives the reader reason to hold onto their humanity.
RaveMemphis Flyer...if all coming-of-age stories boasted as much humor and humanity as the collection’s titular story packs into its 16 pages, I would never have grown tired of the form. Note to all fledgling authors: Take a page out of Corinne Manning’s book. Please ... The collection is equal parts humor, heartache, and education as Manning unpacks often-unseen narratives that have, nonetheless, existed in the margins for some time ... Manning’s eye for character is matched only by her clear prose, which almost seems to crackle with electricity. \'I felt alive in the same way I had the first time I had sober sex,\' Manning writes. Each story in We Had No Rules is distinct, and every sentence is a joy to read.
Stephen Graham Jones
RaveMemphis FlyerThe novel takes its name from what folklorist Wolfgang Mieder calls \'particularly hateful invective\' directed at the United States\' indigenous population, and that wry, dark humor informs the perspectives of the novel\'s protagonists — four young members of the Blackfoot tribe. The men are irrefutably aware of the terrifying statistics that characterize the lives of so many like them. Their inner monologues are rife with remembered and imagined arrests, friends\' suicides, car crashes, and addiction. They know what society expects from them ... Still, for all the social commentary and supernatural fright deftly woven into The Only Good Indians , it\'s in the honest portrayal of his characters that Jones truly shines ... The young men feel real enough to reach out from the page and shake the reader. Jones\' horror is rooted in humanity, in the author’s surfeit of heart. His characters are flawed and unerringly human, defined by or in denial of their guilt, which is why it hurts so much to read their stories ... The book\'s plot is a furious page-turner; its message, timely and potent. And The Only Good Indians works as well as a work of environmental horror, warning that to harm our home is to invite its revenge ... it is heartbreaking, exciting, and terrifying in equal measure. It\'s the clear frontrunner for my favorite book of the year — for its masterful execution, for its humanity and honesty, and because it has haunted me since I turned the last page.
Emily St. John Mandel
RaveMemphis FlyerMandel\'s work, in Station Eleven and elsewhere, is best characterized by its rapturous fascination with those quiet, often-overlooked moments in which character is determined and lives are shaped ... With The Glass Hotel, Mandel again proves her ability to shift between points of view and to disguise thoughtful character studies in the garb of action-driven drama, this time that of a mystery novel ... Mandel\'s characters are always possessed of a complex and thrilling inner life — and they are often on the run, haunted by their mistakes and secrets ... If Station Eleven, with the Traveling Symphony\'s motto of \'survival is insufficient,\' paints a hopeful picture of society\'s rebirth from its own ashes, then The Glass Hotel is a reminder of the kindling that fed the flame — and the detritus of a selfish society that, if rebirth is to occur, must be left in the past.
PositiveThe Memphis FlyerCoates\' prose is poetic, resonating with a longing seemingly too powerful to put into words, the desire for family and home. It\'s a testament to Coates\' power as a writer that, for all the research that went into The Water Dancer, it is a novel that works at the reader\'s heart as much as their head ... Coates has a deft touch as he confronts the nation\'s myths. In a sense, as both a journalist and a comic book writer, Coates has been in training for much of his career to write this novel. It\'s no wonder, then, that it reads as if it was not written, but dreamed into existence.
PositiveThe Memphis FlyerThe subjects, though united by a shared rebelliousness, are nonetheless varied. Memphis Rent Party is no blues biography or soul exegesis. The subject is neither Stax nor Sun, but a range of artists as diverse and multifaceted as the Bluff City itself ... Memphis Rent Party succeeds in describing the particulars by examining the circumstances that helped produce them. It is impossible to study Memphis music divorced from the economic and social conditions that allowed these sounds to thrive, so at times, this collection is a study of the South, of its mores and norms, its casual cruelties and discriminations. But, as Gordon writes...'[b]lues is the mind's escape from the body's obligation. Blues amplifies the relief whenever and wherever relief can be found. The scarcity of that respite makes it ecstatic.'