RaveThe Independent (UK)People who enjoy seeing disappointment and selfishness raised to a kind of romantic sublime will not be disappointed. This is an excellent first novel that knows exactly how to nudge a character close to the edge of the reader\'s tolerance, without ever letting them lose their charm and interest ... Gessen knows how to use restraint, too. The three sort-of-heroes each get their own, long chapters, and these never intersect ... This careful integration of the serious and comic sets the book apart from, say, the novels of Jonathan Safran Foer, with which it otherwise shares a certain tone of intellectual self-indulgence.
Esther Kinsky, Trans. by Iain Galbraith
RaveThe GuardianLittle happens in River. Characters are held at a distance, dialogue is largely absent, and the 37 chapters could probably be read in any order with no loss of narrative sense. Esther Kinsky’s unnamed narrator observes and remembers, piling up beautiful, silt-like layers of description and memory until it becomes difficult to know which is which ... This is a book to relish for its precise descriptions of landscape and weather, for its interest in the detritus of other people’s lives that we routinely overlook, and for its international reach as well as its localised intensities, all wonderfully evoked in Iain Galbraith’s translation ... Above all, it is a reminder of what a privilege it is to see your home afresh, through an outsider’s eyes and words.
RaveIndependentWhat remains so brilliant about the book is the real, useful thought that Kraus builds out of her romantic fantasy. This starts, though doesn't end, with her consideration of love and desire, how "sex short-circuits all imaginative exchange". Chris and Sylvère separate; Chris and Dick do sleep together, but still he remains distant, callous, even as Chris is driven to lonely despair, spending a cold winter holed up in Upstate New York. She gets lost in the woods and nearly dies, and goes to the toilet in the yard because the pipes in her house have frozen: images such as these go a long way to balancing out the discussions of critical theory - Deleuze and Guattari and the like - that dominate later parts of the book...You can call it a novel, then, but it's as a philosophical and cultural critique that I Love Dick bites hardest.