RaveThe Washingtonian...Ratner tells the story of her survival in her gorgeous, tormenting first novel, In the Shadow of the Banyan. Through the eyes of Raami, a seven-year-old polio-stricken princess who has inherited her poet father’s love of language, Ratner bears witness to the unyielding human spirit ... Ratner sharpens the harrowing tale with sensual prose that often endows natural images with human qualities ...author makes all this bearable with moments of levity. Many of these arrive through Cambodian folktales, told by Raami’s elders, that illustrate the way story and myth help us cope with hardship ... Apart from its literary merit, In the Shadow of the Banyan demonstrates how ill-conceived revolutions fall apart.
PositiveThe San Francisco Chronicle...an exhaustively researched story of Rorschach’s brief life and an engaging consideration of his enduring test ... The Inkblots is tremendously rich. A Guggenheim and NEA fellow who specializes in translating Western European literature into English, the author probed unpublished letters, journals and other material to illuminate the way setting and circumstance influenced Rorschach’s life and work. Readers less enthusiastic about the clinical aspects of psychology and psychiatry may find themselves skimming certain sections, but such attention to detail also gives The Inkblots repeated moments of levity.
RaveNewsday... this book is an ode to firearms and the fine art of gunsmithing that should’ve been printed in black powder and Hoppe’s No. 9 instead of ink. It’s also a great story ... G-Man alternates between the past and the present to unravel that knot. Along the way, we get vivid renderings of Dillinger’s notorious band of outlaws ... But this writer’s detailed descriptions of guns and their constituent parts, as well as his often sensual depictions of shooting, might be this novel’s most defining attribute ... With G-Man, a ballistic celebration of that year, this author has hit a bull’s-eye.
PositiveThe Washington Post...a fun and diverting romp through the Old West in search of dinosaur bones ... Dragon Teeth is filled with colorful Wild West characters, including Morgan and Wyatt Earp , and Crichton writes vividly, offering several suspenseful, racing passages ... The novel also touches on the debate between science and religion...But the best thing about Dragon Teeth might be the escape it affords us from such philosophical complexity.
RaveThe Rumpus\"The Tiger’s Wife is an elaborate, haunting work that deserves to be ranked at least alongside other great debuts like Dave Eggers’s A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated, and Zadie Smith’s White Teeth. It might even prove to be better than that ... Obreht’s ability to tell a story is intoxicating, and with each tale we’re drawn deeper and deeper into the heart of the world she has created ... In the end, Obreht doesn’t tie up all of these threads, or the novel, in a definitive way. We’re never quite sure what happens to the tiger, or to Luka, or Gavran Gailé. But ambiguity is part of her intention in all this. After all, it’s the low rumble of unanswered and unanswerable questions that keeps us up at night and with which the The Tiger’s Wife vibrates.\
RaveThe New York Times Book Review[an] excellent collection ... these 13 stories artfully slam an unchecked obsession with technology and affirm the beauty of reality’s texture ... the book’s title story beautifully depicts the real grief that may one day accompany shattered virtual lives.
RaveThe San Francisco Chronicle...expertly reported, deftly written ... A Truck Full of Money gives us a sensitive and vivid portrayal of bipolar disorder, often capturing English’s manic stages in long, colorful quotes that careen riotously from topic to topic. The book also takes us inside the software venture capital world, the absurdity of which Kidder lays bare in short, cogent sections, unencumbered by entrepreneurial buzzwords.
RaveNewsdayEnd of Watch gives us King at the height of his powers. Masterfully plotted, the novel is propelled toward its page-blurring conclusion by two deadly forces: Hodges’ advancing disease and Brady’s relentless murderous impulse.
Abby Smith Rumsey
RaveThe San Francisco ChronicleWhen We Are No More is concerned with a specific aspect of this condition: How can we ensure that the digital information we’re amassing today will serve as a 'coherent and continuous' model of our world tomorrow? That’s a complicated question that won’t be suitably unpacked in the space of this review. But this bold and erudite author needs fewer than 200 pages to sketch out an answer that draws heavily on the wisdom of our information-obsessed ancestors ... what may be most refreshing about When We Are No More is that it doesn’t see doom in all this. Rumsey isn’t asking any of us to step away from our machines or our digital lives. Instead, she’s asking us to seize this opportunity. The time is now, Rumsey argues, to ensure that those who come after us will be able to make sense of the memories we’re building today.
PositiveThe San Francisco Chronicle“The Road to Little Dribbling makes it clear that Bryson is deeply worried that too few in his adopted home feel the same way. Throughout the book, he describes how England’s green and pleasant lands remain under constant threat from ignorant and greedy corporate interests.