RaveNPRTold through chapters that are presented as musical tracks...a work of poetry steeped in history and rich with imagination. The lyrical language keeps the pages turning, track after track...The story centers on a reincarnated Bob Marley and ranges from the rougher parts of Kingston and Zion in Jamaica to Emperor Haile Selassie\'s palace in Addis Ababa. We hear first from Marley\'s one-time lover Leenah, a deaf but wildly perceptive woman who gives her account of the first time she and Bob met. She describes him as a man with \'mischief in his eyes,\' \'misbehaving hair,\' and whose cheekbones could \'balance an egg or a flame or a revolution.\' ... Marvellous Equations is an intoxicating mix of...realism that not only surveys Rastafarian tradition, but also sheds light on the injustices against Rastafarians in Jamaica ... Her chapters are tracks that all work well as singles, but when played together pulsate with...power.
RaveNPRAna Simo's debut novel Heartland is at once manic, brash and unsettling ... It straddles the line between pulp noir and slapstick; it carries the can't-look-away sensibility of a telenovela ...takes readers on an erratic — and sometimes erotic — journey through the mind of a jealous lover. What keeps you engaged throughout is Simo's darkly funny and original voice ... Simo boldly tackles issues of race, sexuality, and immigration. It's an engrossing tale, to be sure — one with traces of surreal horror. Simo's gift lies not only in keeping the reader invested in her narrator's detailed observances and wild tangents, but in her own total fearlessness as a writer ... It's clear that Simo didn't necessarily set out to create a likable character, but a complicated one whose brashness reminds us how our past can ultimately shape who we are and how we relate to the world around us ...an imperfect, yet pleasing cocktail that goes down unexpectedly smooth.
RaveNPRThe most compelling science fiction is the sort which holds weight beyond its sheer inventiveness or even its ingenuity. It takes more. The best in the genre have always functioned like corner prophets reporting from the fringe ... Super Extra Grande is a work of welcome imagination, steeped in science and imbued with satire and philosophy ... One of the most endearing elements of the novel is the use of Spanglish that is peppered throughout ... Not unlike his main character, it's evident that Yoss — as an artist and cultural anthropologist — is intent on doing the dirty work, on digging through the ugly insides of human identity in order to arrive at something pure and lasting.
Juan Gabriel Vásquez
PositiveNPR...line for line Vásquez is a penetrating force, and the most pressing Colombian writer today ... I'd have loved to see Vásquez delve deeper into some of the consequences of art imitating life, where, in his words, 'opinions have their effects.' But Reputations is a powerful, concentrated achievement.
Alejandro Zambra, Trans. by Megan McDowell
PositiveNPRThroughout Multiple Choice, Zambra traffics in a depth of imagination and playfulness that is akin to a guessing game. As with many of his earlier works, he is content to play with, prod, and shake up the reader, confirming once again that the questions we ask about the world and about ourselves are oftentimes far more telling than the answers.