PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewThe book’s general hum of infuriation is apt. But the most memorable passages in Immediate Family are the funny parts ... When the book’s chronic exasperation gives way to affection and hilarity, it’s as if somebody has thrown all the windows open ... It reads like a long personal essay, with some of the tics of the genre, such as the semi-digested chunks of research that occasionally bob up.
MixedBookforumAt this point in the Cromwell story, the historical record starts to constrict—it becomes more stark, more like fate—which leaves Mantel with somewhat fewer opportunities for revision and reinvention. The novel’s pace is a slow creep of ghoulish inevitability. The rot seeps and spreads, and Cromwell gains in menace what he loses in sympathy. Death, and death foretold, is everywhere … Like many sequels, Bring Up the Bodies has its share of recap and slightly unwieldy exposition. Events that Mantel used to foreshadow doom in Wolf Hall erupt into present-tense horror … Cromwell has also become a bit more like the king he serves in Bring Up the Bodies—and despite its faults, the book is a brilliant example of how hubris can become contagious.
PanThe Village VoiceHere Banville is repeating himself, most conspicuously by repeating himself—the Irishman’s most recent run of novels has become perplexingly reiterative. The Sea’s narrator, Max Morden, is a familiar permutation of earlier Banville protagonists found in The Untouchable, Eclipse, and Shroud … Banville’s famously torrid affair with his thesaurus has previously birthed erudite but emotionally delimited characters, whose fierce powers of observation and description are rendered poignantly meaningless by failings of moral temperament, but The Sea nudges this pathos toward parody.
MixedThe Village VoiceCloud Atlas is a polyphonic spree whose voices bounce off the sloping walls of the novel's Chinese-box architecture … Cloud Atlas fumbles these pomo glissandos, which smack of an oddly smug defensiveness (is the intention to flatter the reader or rebuke her?), while Sonmi's saga attempts a final metafictional somersault that breaks the back of her entire tale … Once Cloud Atlas reaches its halfway point, it begins falling into sixfold lockstep with the generic demands of third-act resolution … But so long as the heads are still popping off Mitchell's Russian doll like champagne corks, his novel glows with a fizzy, dizzy energy, pregnant with possibility.
RaveBookforumHaslett's aching, psychologically astute novel rotates among the five voices of its Waspy nuclear family, jumping back and forth in time to suggest how this family's haunted past will creep into its tragic future...Imagine Me Gone confronts the moment when the motion finally stops, when the mind's wheels spin and squeal against the skull until a person breaks apart, his family looking on helplessly, haunting him and haunted by him.