RaveOregonianCharming ... Our story — and this is how Stanfill presents her tale — is told with moments of fantasy and many moving parts and characters ... Stanfill’s lyrical phrasing sings along with the musical themes that fill these pages...and creates a narrative that engages and entertains the reader. Her words are enchanting and fit the story well ... Yet no novel is perfect. In Stylish Canary one questions how the characters seem so little affected by historical events of their day ... These quibbles aside — this is, after all, a kind of fairy tale — Stanfill’s debut is a delight as it circles around questions of family, friendships, and the choices we make. Lovers of music, France, and good storytelling will find much to enjoy in Singing Lessons for the Stylish Canary, and in these dark times, joy is worth seeking out.
MixedThe Star Tribune... despite its promising beginning, evolves into a bizarre, otherworldly environment that never clearly seems resolved ... It\'s possible that Passersthrough is about memories linked to extrasensory perceptions not commonly experienced but present in some trauma victims. But then again it may not be. In the end the reader doesn\'t have any clearer idea than Benjamin did about what happened to his children more than two decades earlier. And perhaps that is what Peter Rock wants. Uncertainties and mysteries always surround death and disappearances. And while we may hope we find answers in stories, and in life, that\'s not always what happens.
RaveThe Star TribuneThis is a very internalized novel, where nothing really occurs. We learn about our unnamed protagonist\'s past (her father died when she was a teen) and her present (she can\'t sleep well unless she hears the city traffic), and how then and now intersect ... In this beautiful novel, which might not appeal to fans of plot-driven narratives, the reader becomes immersed in the head of its subject ... Without artifice, Lahiri\'s elegant phrases throughout the book reveal as much about her character as they do about the author\'s understanding of her environment and the people who inhabit it ... this reviewer\'s sole regret is that he wishes Whereabouts was longer so he could linger a bit more with Lahiri\'s meditative and lyrical prose.
RaveThe Star Tribune... it’s filled with characters who are rich with stories and eager to tell them ... There’s nothing like sitting with a chaplain in the middle of the night at the end of one’s life to stir up a rush of regrets and memories which, for readers, makes for some great stories ... Cooney is brilliant at observing and describing quirky characters—people like ourselves, really—and her truly memorable chaplain moving from patient to patient is perfect for this storytelling approach ... Cooney has no trouble turning this tall tale of a flying chaplain into a wonderful and memorable novel that lingers long and deep in the mind of readers, making us reconsider our concepts of faith, kindness, and what exactly a soul is, anyway.
PositiveThe Star Tribune\"Mesha Maren’s intriguing debut novel revolves around secrets: those we keep, those kept from us, and the pain and dangerous consequences that sometimes result when they are revealed ... Maren adroitly incorporates issues surrounding poverty in rural America into her narrative, including drug dealing and addiction; lack of jobs; fracking, which destroys communities and the land’s ecological health; and gun violence, which can change everything in a moment ... This narrative style is slightly troublesome, as there are inevitable references to past events in the present chapters. This leads to occasional murky moments for readers. Also, a minor flaw in the tale is Jodi’s preoccupation with guns, which seems counterintuitive to her oft demonstrated compassion and love for others. In the end, Maren’s story is engaging and full of damaged and provocative characters who, like all of us, can be misled by our hearts.\
RaveThe StarTribune\" Thompson is a sympathetic yet objective biographer. This large, eminently readable and well-documented book follows a generally but not strictly chronological account of Christie’s life, and it is laced with snippets from Christie’s novels where Thompson saw parallels to the writer’s life ... In the end, Agatha Christie is portrayed here as a driven, at times vulnerable, woman who found what she wanted and needed to do with her life. For that, and for Laura Thompson’s new biography, we are all richer.\
RaveThe Minneapolis Star TribuneIn these eight impressive stories, Russell pulls the rug out on our imagination, creating perplexing, surreal scenarios that bump into the common reality that most of us take for granted … Karen Russell is at her very best, though, in a dark and memorable Gothic tale like ‘Proving Up’ — a 19th-century Nebraska homesteading story — where her stark language meets her high drama perfectly as she tells of a young boy’s harrowing horse ride in a sudden blizzard.
RaveThe Minneapolis Star TribuneMurray has created a marvelously rich narrative and a beautifully written environment for all these flawed and damaged individuals to exist around the sudden death of young Skippy. All the charms and annoyances of adolescent life have been captured perfectly in classic tragic-comedy tradition … An intelligent and entertaining book that, despite its great length, makes this reader wish that its conclusion had not come around so soon.
RaveThe Portland OregonianCanada is a marvelous story told in the voice of 15-year-old Dell Parsons about his befuddled family: his twin sister, Berner, and his socially awkward, almost farcically tragic parents – father Bev and mother Neeva – two of the least likely bank robbers one could ever hope to encounter … Ford's masterful unveiling of the narrative not only gives us Dell's view on his sad family (where ‘no one had access to common sense,’ as he tells us), but increases the tension as pages are turned … Canada is a masterpiece of a story with rich language and dialogue filled with suspense, bleakness, human frailties and flaws, and a little bit of hope seen through the eyes of an adolescent boy whose emotions seem often aligned with the desolate landscape of its setting.
RaveThe Miami HeraldInspired by a report published in 1885 Ivey has transformed a exploration chronicle into a lusciously written series of accounts by the travelers and those related to this harrowing adventure ... To the Bright Edge of the World is a page-turner, a fascinating story that is broad in its scope as it is compassionate in its message ... Eowyn Ivey has created a world that is dangerous and beautiful, worrisome and satisfying, all in a novel that readers will not soon forget
RaveThe Minneapolis Star TribuneWhile reading these terrific tales one wonders how a single mind can create such diverse fiction as Mark Haddon has done here in his first collection ... these nine stories are truly spectacular ... Each of these stories grabs you with its lyrical prose and bold events, holds you tight and does not let go ... In the end, we are rewarded with tales and situations of great narrative strength and astounding imagination in which we could easily find ourselves but sure hope we never do.
RaveThe Minneapolis Star Tribune"The Past is a memorable novel that continues to resonate well after the reader has turned the last page, and makes us long for the next work of fiction by this outstanding English writer.