RaveThe Georgia ReviewPhysical objects become a focus for Shapland’s meditation, reflection, and questions about McCullers’s life and essence. They pull McCullers from the past into a present mediated by Shapland’s storytelling. Some of Shapland’s best writing focuses on extricating broader meaning from these tangible objects ... Shapland uncovers vibrant connections between mid-century lesbian writers such as Patricia Highsmith and Jane Bowles and the other women around them, mapping intimacies and rivalries and bringing to life a powerful imaginary of mid-century queer life ... in Shapland’s complex assemblage, readers uncover and intuit their own meanings from the gatherings, clustering, and collecting of material. Shapland combines these medleys with lyrical prose befitting a poet; through evocative lyricism, she resists the impulse of collage, to contain the gatherings into an object that evokes or suggests a third meaning, pressing to explore multiplicities of meanings, including the possibility that meaning cannot be determined ... Shapland explores with extraordinary sensitivity McCullers’s refusal of...gendered plots, even as stewards of her legacy want to make her compliant, gender normative, conforming to an image of the independent woman genius.
MixedJewish Book CouncilWhile Willa’s reflections are intriguing and provocative, they are not fully realized in the development of her character or the larger plot. The scope and ambition of Willa & Hesper, combining stories of a family from Tbilsi, Georgia with a story of Holocaust sites in Germany and Poland, are exciting. The framework mobilized by Feltman provides ample space for character and plot development. Unfortunately, while the two women at the center of the novel seem very different, their voices and perspectives never differentiate enough from one another. Nevertheless, Willa & Hesper is a pleasurable novel, and Feltman is a writer worth watching as her work develops.