PositiveThe Christian Science Monitor... unfurls as a series of engaging conversations and fascinating stories that Goodall hopes will touch the heart as well as the mind, with Abrams teasing out her thoughts and ideas. Through substantive interviews, we get a sense of a lively woman of brilliant intellect, keen insight, and impish humor, soft-spoken and empathetic yet passionate. The book also clearly demonstrates that Goodall’s urgency surrounding the issue of climate change is allied with hope ... She is unflinching in her assessment of the dire state of our planet. Yet she maintains that there is a window of time in which we can still repair much of the harm inflicted on the natural world – but in addition to hope, there is a need for action, engagement, even anger. Not new ideas, of course. But even for this initially cynical reader, Goodall’s eloquent reflections prove strikingly persuasive and often profoundly moving ... She illuminates the interconnected tapestry of life with extraordinary tales of animals and plants brought back from the brink ... Throughout, the book is seeded with captivating photos that bring people and places to life ... At times, the book’s digressions and repetitions impede the flow, and the conversational tone can get a bit cloying. The meat of Goodall’s wisdom could have made for a slimmer, pithier read. But Abrams is especially effective as devil’s advocate when his skepticism kicks in and he challenges, pushing for clarity. And Goodall never fails to rise to the occasion.
PositiveThe Boston Globe...a fluid tapestry of memories and bizarre mythologies interwoven with threads that fray and tear at the slightest touch ... Essentially plotless, the defining arc of Duplex is time. But in Davis’s deft hands, the fabric of time is torn and twisted, gnarled and knotted, not just for the readers of this plunge into surrealistic fantasy, but for the characters themselves ... All the characters seem to take these mind-boggling slingshots into another dimension matter-of-factly, with little displays of emotion or confusion. It’s not so easy for the reader — just as a moment draws us in, it abruptly cracks apart, leaving us breathless and disoriented. Yet Duplex is utterly compelling and hard to put down ... Duplex seems seeded with symbolism, yet it feels deliberately elliptical, just beyond comprehension. Diving into Davis’s universe is a bit like wading into deep, dark water in which you sense but can’t quite see what’s teeming in the currents below ... as confounding as it is provocative.
C. E. Morgan
PositiveThe Boston GlobeAs the story unfolds, descriptions are so vivid, yet so integrated and organic, that the reader can almost feel the lassitude of stifling humid air, smell the rich, warm earth, and see the furrowed fields, the dark mountains in the distance ... The level of poetic detail makes All the Living a slow, seductive dive into another time and place, a deep, quiet place foreign to the frantic pace of contemporary urban life ... In sharp contrast is the dialogue. With its jarring grammatical lapses and rough syntax, each conversational exchange can be a tough slog for those with a keen ear for proper usage. However, Morgan, a native Kentuckian, gets the rhythms just right and makes graceful transitions ... But while the writing can be exquisite, the story line of All the Living is less affecting, though it has a subtle emotional pull. Less plot-driven than slow-moving reflection, it tracks a kind of coming of age.
PositiveThe Boston GlobeSet in the fictional port city of Bonsecours, S.C., You’ll Never Know, Dear is filled with rich detail of time and place. One can almost feel the soft heat of the Low Country, with its camellia bushes, periwinkle, and thick blanket of mosquitoes ... A third of the way through You’ll Never Know, Dear, Ephron has introduced us to all the major players, and rather quickly, the basic direction of the story line seems fairly transparent. Marked by a notable absence of violence and danger, it’s never really nail-biting suspense. Even so, it’s quite the page-turner in its quiet way. An accessible, easy read that deftly integrates the mystery genre with women’s fiction, it’s made compelling by the depth and resonance of the relationships.
RaveThe Boston GlobeThe debut novel of the Egyptian-born memoirist and literary scholar Andre Aciman is a coming-of-age story focused not so much on sexual awakening as on a kind of sexual quickening and identity exploration unfurled through poetic ruminations on longing and obsession … Aciman deftly charts a burgeoning relationship that both parties want and fear. Elio's crush blooms quickly, while Oliver seems to toy with his affections, friendly and engaging one moment, indifferent, even hostile the next. But over the course of a short six weeks, a tentative friendship blossoms, and undercurrents of romantic fascination and compulsion gradually evolve into a brief, yet intensely shared intimacy.
RaveThe Boston Globe...the diary ends up telling us more about Nao and ultimately about Ruth herself, as she processes the 16-year-old girl’s experience ... This setup for A Tale for the Time Being, the new novel by Canadian-American writer Ruth Ozeki, allows for a fascinating multigenerational tapestry of long ago, recent past, and present. The work is fiction, but intriguingly self-referential...most of the writing resonates with an immediacy and rawness that is believable and touching ... The stack of letters tucked into the diary offer another dimension of time and reality ... Ozeki powerfully evokes Ruth’s present-day struggles, painting a vivid portrait of life on a sparsely populated island... But Nao’s diary becomes a lifeline to another time and place more vibrant than her own, offering a vehicle for transformation, with the experiences of the past serving as catalysts for the future.
RaveThe Boston Globe...a seductive page-turner that ripples with an undercurrent of suspense and is fueled by the foibles of the human heart ... Leavitt traces the loneliness, isolation, and forced dependence of Lucy’s circumstances as William, who gradually sours on the new school, becomes more and more controlling ... Though the novel unspools with the edge of a psychological thriller, read too quickly for plot and one might miss these nuanced moments of insight, which seed Leavitt’s prose like tips of crocuses pushing up through snow. Best to slow down and savor.
RaveThe Boston GlobeLiz Moore’s captivating new page-turner, The Unseen World, is a wry, gentle coming-of-age story and an intriguing glimpse into the development of artificial intelligence and virtual reality, both early on and as envisioned for the future. It is also an incisive, insightful, and compassionate examination of the complexities of family and identity ... powerfully touching yet provocative, challenging us to reconsider our relationship to technology and the digital devices that both distance and connect us to one another.
MixedThe Boston GlobeMaguire impressively channels Carroll’s penchant for humorous wordplay, literary nonsense, and logic games, though sometimes he overdoes the fancy and dialogue can get a bit tedious.