RaveThe New York Review of BooksThe images that close...stories can have this kind of poetic reach, this upward tilt. If they sometimes feel a little strained, there’s a structural beauty, a hidden order \'containing\' the wandering episodes. A remarkable talent is at work here ... Sestanovich has taken on the challenge of narrating lives cluttered with discontinuities, crowded with incomplete causes and effects, and she’s interested in what characters—who can only know so much—tell themselves about what’s going on. (The reader is left deducing a bit more.) There’s much to admire in the complications of these unplotlike plots, always hopping over the expected ... Rarely is anything in these stories less than convincing; she is precise about her characters’ often elusive emotions ... The exactness of such passages is elating. But readerly impatience can sometimes arise. This has to do with which experiences are stressed, which angles we get to view these characters’ lives from ... Though it tries not to, [one] story feels a bit pitiless ... All the same, there is a good deal to like about the heartlessness that tinges this fiction ... Here and there I found myself becoming the pesky reader offering secret disapproval ... Sestanovich...is already able to delineate in swift detail a narrow world, with its standards and shames and swindles, while indicating that she knows it’s not the whole world. This knowing is what gives the work its weight. And she has the power to subvert conventional story structure yet build a story with its own order.
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review... a territory of intrigue and tricks, entirely absorbing ... Ackerman’s rich knowledge of Turkey, where he was based as a journalist for a number of years, is evident on every page. The book’s stunning scenes of the protests in Gezi Park, where the police used tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets on demonstrators, are superbly written and give the book its title ... Turkey, for all its violent complexities and hostile factions, is not a country at war, and readers may find less at stake in this novel than in Ackerman’s prior fiction. All its characters, despite their vividness and their claims on our sympathy, are carried by a mighty undertow of self-interest. What lasts is the book’s emphasis on hidden machinations of power ... This reminder of unseen forces feels like the book’s underlying ambition and provides the resonance, the heightening of thought, that ends the book — a musing on America’s overseas intrusions, on the trove of details deemed essential to keeping things in line, and on how such powers might seep into even the most intimate of relations.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewThe description is exact and graceful, as Matar’s prose tends to be ... A Month in Siena resists the narrative markers we might expect. There’s a lovely section about Matar’s meeting with a Jordanian who invites him into his Sienese home, and another about going reluctantly to a 90th-birthday party for a dear old friend in a villa not far away. But these are passed over as peripheral to the main action — which is paintings as experience ... The book is not a travel guide, though it has a fine evocation of the spatial effects of Siena’s fan-shaped central piazza and a thumbnail history of how the Black Death changed Europe. Nor is it straight art criticism or even straight memoir. It will be read most happily by fans of Hisham Matar’s other work, who want further access to a mind that takes in details with a charged concentration that meanders to larger thought. It is a book that requires some patience. It is arguing for the power of art to answer a longing to be \'recognized,\' while bringing about the rediscovery of \'our own powers of remembrance,\' a pastime that demands the closest possible attention.
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewYoon’s prose is spare and beautiful. He can describe the sea more ways than seem possible without losing freshness, and his characters’ world is often quietly dazzling ... Yoon’s narratives face the interesting challenge of relying on characters who don’t exactly believe in action ... While a number of people here are tormented by longing — an orphan is sure that more than one man is the lost boy she once took care of; a young girl keeps seeing a ghostly woman in the snow wearing a dress like her dead mother’s — their yearnings result more in frustrated gestures than in actual drama ... Yet the beauty of these stories is precisely in their reserve: they are mild and stark at the same time ... The work of a large and quiet talent.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review\"... a really very wild and superbly intelligent reimagining ... [the book is] written with a crafty poetic gleam ... The descriptions of animal life are meticulous and terrific ... There’s no shortage of images to engage us, but this book has the task of providing narrative suspense when we already know the outcome of events ... adopts a stance of wonder, even toward the innocently lethal wolves and tigers, and the writing is most sublimely clever when depicting the dilemmas of dealing with all creation in one locale ... If Naamah, this 21st-century riff on climate disaster, is too exasperated with [God] to be a monitory tale, it also left me with an abiding admiration for the writer’s charged powers of imagination.\
MixedThe Wall Street JournalThe destructive confrontation that Ms. Mozley stages between these two characters brims with primal, folkloric power. Price, a man with ‘cut glass teeth and scarlet gums,’ is a superbly malevolent villain … Ms. Mozley is eager to showcase her writing chops, with the result that the prose can become terribly clotted with poeticisms … Ms. Mozley understands the novel’s unique ability to depict the collective.