PositiveCommonweal... a lot of voice-shifting, but Moore’s voice steadies when describing Gbessa’s ordeals ... Writers are either \'putter-inners\' or \'taker-outers.\' Moore, a putter-inner, sometimes overwhelms her own best writing, and inconsistencies in her narrative voice can weaken some of the strongest elements of the novel. Charlotte’s inability to raise her baby or save her lover is as poignant as Orpheus’s inability to keep Eurydice from sliding back into the underworld. She is every enslaved mother, every African woman who lost a child to slavery. But as a whispering enigma, she’s confusion. Yet such flaws do not seriously compromise a novel that is both imaginative and ambitious.
RaveThe Common...a particularly complete and satisfying example of the linked genre ... This story leads us on—the way a con man might ... This kind of subtle reveal—a quarter twist of the corkscrew—is present in many of the stories and shows Lansburgh’s mastery of classic short story technique ... It’s worth reading this one from beginning to end. Lansburgh’s order keeps the whole structure under tension in a way that’s difficult to do outside of the novel and is one of the reasons the book is such a satisfying read ... Structure is everything in story-writing. Classic short stories package universality, economy, and an element of surprise. Each piece of Outside Is the Ocean accomplishes that. At the same, the broad architecture of the whole promises more and bigger work from Lansburgh.