PositiveForeword Reviews... hums with obsessive energy ... Told through Bea’s perspective, the story relies on oblique prompts that encourage its audience to read between the lines. From its first moment, it focuses in on the women’s unremarkable relationship, in which innocuous moments illicit tumultuous emotional responses from both women. Its sparse and anxious prose, while a product of its time, imbues the book with the flavor of Bea’s dizzying emotional state. The result is a chamber drama with the atmosphere of a murder mystery ... By today’s standards, The Tree and The Vine is overwrought. Coming into awareness of one’s own sexuality through a same-sex crush on a roommate is close to a cliche, yet within the novel, tension rings in every paragraph. The novel is a piece of queer history, and its subtext-laden emotional roller coaster takes on revelatory magic ... Tragic yet triumphant, the tense novel The Tree and the Vine is best read in one long, shaking breath. It is a gift to queer women’s history, and a delight akin to the letters of Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West, or the laughing photos of Frida Kahlo and Chavela Vargas.
Michal Ben-Naftali, trans. by Daniella Zamir
PositiveForeword ReviewsDriven more by psychology than its plot...a chronology-jumping character study about the individual experience of a collective trauma ... This portrait ...is a thoughtful meditation on the human struggles that are not often considered in history books or political moments.
The novel shines in its last third ... This depth and intensity comes on suddenly, an earth-quaking shift from the steady removal of the preceding chapters ... Introspection pervades every page. The tone is alternately poignant and soporific—sometimes, even downright confusing ... The book ends in a crescendo, though, and there is poetry enough to propel audiences to the soul-stirring climax ... a powerful peek into the psychology of trauma and a great book club pick for those seeking a challenging, deep discussion.
Deni Ellis Bechard
RaveForeword ReviewsDeni Ellis Béchard’s White...feels like James Michener and Gabriel García Márquez joined forces to craft a meditation on race. White is somehow both breathless and introspective, a careening political thriller and a work of deep contemplation ... White enthralls and inspires wonder, its ambitious storytelling working through a captivating mix of political intrigue and something near magical realism. This artistry allows Béchard to move into somewhat dangerous territory: he is a white author writing about race and colonialism. While any of his interwoven story lines could easily move into clumsy metaphors, the book unfolds with thought-provoking nuance. In White, there is nothing clean cut about the way whiteness manifests in geopolitics ... a phenomenon Béchard illustrates through his self-referential protagonist with notable self-awareness. White is a rare work of fiction in which one can get lost in storytelling and grow as a thinker at the same time. Captivating, careening, thrilling, and magical, this is intelligent entertainment.