MixedThe New York Times Book ReviewIshraaq’s narration, sometimes addressed to Nafeesa, is mostly a distraction. There is little to distinguish his voice from any third-person omniscient narrative, and you quickly learn not to pay much attention, for instance, as he refers to Seema primarily by name and occasionally as \'my mother.\' For a while this appears to be a fairly conventional story of a family confronting old rifts and even older loves, its boldest act to give us a deeply religious Muslim character. That is, until the novel jumps back even further, to 2003, when Seema meets Bill at an Iraq war protest. Ishraaq’s tone becomes more energized, but its intimacy falls away as he follows Seema through a series of political campaigns that culminate in her disillusionment with Obama. Ahmed doesn’t quite manage to tie this disillusionment to Seema’s abandonment by her father, and it’s a relief when the novel returns to just the trio of women ... We are to a greater extent enmeshed in a very large world with myriad forces acting upon us in ways large and small. Isn’t it time for American writers to face up to the challenge of reflecting that? The flaws of Radiant Fugitives aside, we can still stand back and applaud Ahmed, a writer of vast ambition, who wants nothing less than to reshape the American novel.
RaveThe Guardian (UK)The grief surrounding 9/11 – the forms it takes, the claims it makes, the claims made in its name by third parties, the hierarchy which surrounds it ...the guilt and anger which are born from it, the gulf between the silence of private grief and the clamour of public grief – is central to this exceptional debut about a changing America ... Waldman\'s prose is almost always pitch-perfect, whether describing a Bangladeshi woman\'s relationship with her landlady or the political manoeuvring within a jury. The characters are wholly realised and believable as individuals, but they also stand in for stories and conflicts that go beyond their own lives ... The Submission would have been a remarkable response to last year\'s Cordoba House/Park 51 debacle in America, with its Qur\'an burnings, its editorials about the difference between what is legal and what is acceptable, its reminder that not all post-9/11 conflicts were taking place outside America.
RaveThe Guardian...Anuradha is a writer of great subtlety and intelligence, who understands that emotional power comes from the steady accretion of detail ... All the Lives We Never Lived is set largely in the early part of the 20th century, with some sections in the 1990s. It does not directly refer to #MeToo or the macho hyper-nationalism of today’s India. But in its portrayal of power structures, it is part of those very contemporary political conversations. It is also a beautifully written and compelling story of how families fall apart and of what remains in the aftermath.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review\"In keeping with the Berger-esque philosophy, Silber writes her new novel, Improvement, as a series of interlinked stories, a generous structural decision that both allows characters to fully inhabit their own narratives and gives space to the lives that intersect or run parallel to them … Just as you think you’ve understood the narrative technique, which takes us into Reyna’s life through her relationships, Part II commences, shifting to third-person stories that seem to spool farther and farther away from Reyna...With a single tug on the narrative thread, we return to Reyna’s world...but this time we read her and her world differently, having passed through all these other stories that intersect hers, both literally and thematically. This is a novel of richness and wisdom and huge pleasure. Silber knows, and reveals, how close we live to the abyss, but she also revels in joy, particularly the joy that comes from intimate relationships.\
RaveThe GuardianCricket is, of course, a wonderful way of writing about shattered dreams – both personal and national. As such, it isn’t necessary to know the game to appreciate this finely told, often moving and intelligent novel. Cricket here represents what is loved in India, and yet is being corrupted by the changes within the nation ... Adiga’s novel takes in class, religion and sexuality – all issues that disrupt the dream of a sport that cares for nothing but talent and temperament. Because Adiga is a novelist, and one who has grown in his art since his Booker prizewinning debut, The White Tiger, he knows how to talk about all these matters through his characters and their compelling stories.
MixedThe GuardianMukherjee deftly interweaves the worlds of the arms trade, sex workers, fruit pickers and the Daily Mail, while also casting a light on the economic policies of the Raj, communal violence and the fragility of relationships conducted under the glare of history. But he never loses sight of his characters and their emotional upheaval. The growing tension is expertly handled; the ending unsurprising yet completely devastating.
RaveThe GuardianSahota is a writer who knows how to turn a phrase, how to light up a scene, how to make you stay up late at night to learn what happens next. This is a novel that takes on the largest questions and still shines in its smallest details ... Sahota moves some of the most urgent political questions of the day away from rhetorical posturing and contested statistics into the realm of humanity. The Year of the Runaways is a brilliant and beautiful novel.