RaveWashington Independent Review of Books... warm and inviting ... I was the lucky recipient who finally got to attend a class with one of my favorite writers ... Right away, we are launched into Chekhov’s \'In the Cart.\' And then, a page later, Saunders interjects with his thoughts about our expectations as readers and what Chekhov as writer could do with those expectations. His insight was fascinating and helped me prepare for the discussions after later stories. But I admit that, at that moment, I flipped ahead to the other stories to see if Saunders interjected like that every time. He did not. And I was relieved. In hindsight, though, I believe it was a great choice for a reader like me; someone unaccustomed to stopping so often to think about a story while still in the middle of reading it. His prodding and jabbing after every page or two in the first story blew some dust from some unused connectors in my brain. Plus, the wonderful thing about Saunders’ approach is that he’s utterly nonjudgmental. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t familiar with these writers or that I\'ve never been in a writing class. Readers are encouraged to bring whatever they can to the proceedings ... the post-story conversation...really did feel like a conversation: Saunders is a generous instructor. I felt involved. Even when a particular story didn’t resonate...aunders’ insights helped me appreciate it ... while reading A Swim in a Pond in the Rain may not be the same as having a front-row seat in \'that Russian class\' Professor Saunders so loves teaching, it felt pretty close.
RaveThe Washington Independent Review of BooksIn these blocks of prose, Interior Chinatown reveals itself to be a stunning novel about identity, race, societal expectations, and crippling anxiety told with humor and affection and a deep understanding of human nature ... Yu\'s knowledge of the inner workings of the entertainment world raises Interior Chinatown<./em> to the level of sly satire.
RaveThe Washington Independent Review of BooksWhat Thomas pulls off here is astounding. This is a truly funny book. It is acerbic. It is mean-spirited. It is heavy (and I don\'t just mean weight gain). The characters are flawed and sometimes intensely unlikable, but they are also naive and susceptible to peer pressure and scared to be different and just so crazy-believable. I was rooting for all of them to survive ... Thomas is a master at burrowing into everyone\'s insecurities. She jumps from mind to mind, unraveling the fears of students and faculty alike. Natasha and her friends may communicate in a whole new way, but the real revelation here is how much we’re all alike in our secret interior worlds.
Kira Jane Buxton
RaveThe Washington Independent Review of BooksI was skeptical going in, because I wasn\'t sure if I\'d ever be able to relate to a domesticated crow. There was also this nagging feeling that Hollow Kingdom just couldn\'t possibly work. I mean, how could it? A trash-talking crow? Zombies? All wrapped in social commentary and an environmentalist slant? No way...But, against all odds, Buxton pulls it off ... First of all, the book is very funny. At times, I\'d even whip out the word hilarious, which I don\'t do very often. And Buxton really knows her animals ... the real trick is how invested we become in S.T.\'s quest ... terrifying and poignant ... magical ... It wasn\'t just the funny lines; it was the palpable sense of despair and wonder and excitement that S.T. experiences along the way ... that is the final trick of the novel and why it is so successful: It is real. It doesn\'t matter that the plot is populated with crows and dogs and cats. We can see ourselves in them. Despite its grim apocalyptic proclamations, Hollow Kingdom remains joyously hopeful. S.T.’s quest to find himself is a statement on loyalty and resilience: or, as we Hollows would call it, being human.
PositiveWashington Independent Review of Books\"Maren handles the two concurrent stories of women on the run with aplomb, doling out information as the days drift by in the dusty Appalachian town. We feel every drop of sweat. Every burning ray of the sun. The stifling heat makes it nearly impossible to breathe ... What’s important is that Sugar Run reminds readers that memory-scars never heal. They exist to guide us into uncertain futures.\
PositiveWashington Independent Review of Books\"... a wonderfully immersive experience ... The pleasure of the novel is not necessarily in following the plot that we see; it\'s uncovering the things we didn\'t see. Or the parts that were purposefully left out ... Black Leopard, Red Wolf is as dark and pulsing as blood from a fresh wound, nearly bursting with tragically flawed characters and some of the most truly musical dialogue in any book, fantasy or otherwise ... The most fascinating part of Black Leopard, Red Wolf is the transformation of Tracker and how he goes from searching for a missing boy to wanting that boy dead.\
PositiveWashington Independent Review of BooksSuicide Club stared up at me as if I\'d let it down by not making more progress. But the book\'s insistence that I read it, even while grossly sick, is a testament to its power ... What really makes Suicide Club shine is that it explores big themes without ever getting bogged down under its own weight. It certainly made me ponder death and my own mortality more than I normally do, and I think that\'s the point. By painting a world on the cusp of human immortality as horribly grim, it also makes you appreciate what we have now even more.