RaveThe New York TimesGabriele, the 24-year-old narrator of Nicola DeRobertis-Theye’s absorbing debut, looks outward, rather than inward ... That all of this dense, difficult history unfolds naturally in the scope of Gabriele’s present-day story — she does, of course, eventually contact her aunts and cousins, and allow herself to be brought into their fold — speaks yards to DeRobertis-Theye’s deft, masterly storytelling ... deeply gratifying ... This complex, substantive debut offers a singular and transfixing take on the nature of identity — both national and personal — and the dangers of secrecy, both national and personal. And, of course, what it means to come of age in a broken world, a world that has been broken for generations.
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review...ambitious ... Goldberg’s passionate depiction of Lillian rings heartbreakingly true at a moment when discussions of emotional labor dominate certain sectors of the media ... At times, Goldberg crosses the slender line between clever and cute ... The constraints of the catalog form, hinging on descriptions of photographs we cannot see and Samantha’s labored contemplations of how Lillian might have composed them, grow tedious as the novel wears on ... Though the novel’s plot hinges on the obscenity trial, its most powerful moments arrive in the form of Lillian’s wrenchingly intimate reflections in her journal.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewAlice Adams’s irresistible debut novel falls squarely into that most English of genres: the comedy of manners ... A crackerjack storyteller who deeply inhabits her characters — deploying pitch-perfect dialogue to poignant and hilarious effect — Adams uses the conventions of the form to examine larger ideas about class and commerce, art and science, friendship and family at the time of the most recent fin de siècle ... Ultimately, though, this is a novel that strives to define a generation — the one known, ominously, as X — and it falters when Adams overreaches, struggling to establish her characters as representatives of their era, shaped by the historical events of their day.