RaveThe New York Times Book Review...electrifying ... Andras gives an unsparing account of the capture and execution of the real-life revolutionary Fernand Iveton at the hands of the French Army ... Andras is most interested in the intimate dimensions of this radical life. He hurries the first pages of his novel through Iveton’s would-be act of sabotage and his subsequent arrest, and then asks us to bear witness not only to the excruciating details of his brutalization, but also to the concatenation of family history ... Despite a translation that struggles to render the tautness and lyricism of Andras’s prose, the intensity of both Iveton’s principles and the political moment he’s embroiled in still manages to shine through. Toggling between past and present, Andras allows multiple voices onto the same page — into the same sentence, even — and so sketches the landscape of politics and emotions that sealed Iveton’s fate ... Tomorrow They Won’t Dare to Murder Us insists on plumbing the thorniest details of history’s scandal, suggesting — convincingly — that certain truths are best revealed in fiction.
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewMarlon James’s second novel is both beautifully written and devastating. While the gruesome history of slavery in the Americas is a story we may dare to think we already know, every page of The Book of Night Women reminds us that we don’t know nearly enough. James’s narrative, related in a hard-edged but lilting dialect ... deftly avoids the clichéd melodrama such characters all too often inspire. He never draws rigid lines between good and evil, and he never takes sides ... Significant parts of The Book of Night Women are, understandably, very difficult to read. Rape, torture, murder and other dehumanizing acts propel the narrative, never failing to shock in both their depravity and their humanness. It is this complex intertwining that makes James’s book so disturbing and so eloquent. Writing in the spirit of Toni Morrison and Alice Walker but in a style all his own, James has conducted an experiment in how to write the unspeakable—even the unthinkable. And the results of that experiment are an undeniable success.
RaveThe New York Times Sunday Book ReviewThough the novel ostensibly recounts the events of four desperate days in New York, it extends far beyond these boundaries of time and space. In seamlessly integrated flashbacks, the narrator recalls the trauma of his 1970s childhood as a ‘social experiment,’ bused to the affluent suburbs of Boston from the city. He then uses these forays into the too-present past as springboards from which to investigate the fragmented histories of his abusive mother and perpetually absent father — so much ‘collateral damage of the diaspora’ ... Fighting a fate preordained as much by his genes as by his country, Thomas’s narrator is a man perpetually at risk. His tormented psyche subtly reveals how such ostensibly innocent American pastimes as baseball and golf can become vicious backdrops to the disillusionment of the marginal, and how kindness can be poison to those on whom it is imposed — to the point where the refusal of gifts carelessly offered becomes a question of self-preservation.