PositiveEntropyBall’s vision of America in The Divers’ Game hits close to home, as if reality has been lifted from the headlines and filtered through the fabulist’s own earnest and attentive eye ... Ball doesn’t string a single narrative through The Divers’ Game. Instead, he uses a nameless narrator to dip in and out of the lives of both Pats and Quads, offering artfully clipped excerpts of larger stories to illuminate the rampant and unfathomable violence, the rigid hierarchies within both worlds, and the conflict raging within the few members of the ruling class who retain shreds of empathy in a world where resistance is almost wholly flattened by cruelty ... Like a poet circling an ineffable central truth, Ball keeps readers at bay, coming in slant and offering slivers of life to illustrate this barbaric caste system—and to communicate an essential truth about what such violence does to the hearts and minds of both the oppressors and the oppressed.
RaveThe Rumpus...a book that demands to be read slowly, line by line, even clause by clause, like a poem. To read it any differently would be a sort of betrayal—and anyway, to skip ahead would bring you little sense of resolution, for in this novel, resolution is hardly the point ... form dictates every aspect of the reading experience: one is compelled to stop after every burst of prose and trace the routes Steinberg has mapped in invisible ink ... Each chapter—some consisting of a single, pages-long block paragraph, others bursts of breathless prose connected by semicolons, as if part of the same long confession—spirals, pulses, and flickers around a memory, an idea, a confrontation. Each sentence crackles with careful suggestion; each and every statement of fact submits itself for subversion ... It’s through deft maneuvers of language—sudden deflections, corrections, and subversions—that Steinberg lays bare the raw conflicts at the heart of Machine: desire and disgust; lust and fear; power and helplessness; youthful adventure and cold-eyed adult regret; physical violence and disembodied escape ... Sentence by surprising sentence, phrase by poetic phrase, Steinberg tells a kaleidoscope of a story—not just of a ghost, but of a haunting.