PositiveThe Financial Times (UK)Though these pieces have been published before, all have been edited or reworked for this volume, which means that rather than giving a sense of an essayist in development, the book highlights the sheer variety of subjects that have interested, perplexed, and troubled the writer throughout her career ... A certain American landscape — truck shops and dark bars, stripped of glamour but loaded with a certain insouciant cool — often provides a backdrop to her work. Kushner herself is a writer who embodies that cool. Raised by politically engaged parents in San Francisco, she speaks with authority and confidence on politics and history, and has an eye for the contradictions inherent in the particularities of American capitalism ... Though Kushner is a decidedly erudite writer, the essays in the collection vary in quality, and some of the less successful works feel too meandering ... Though this collection varies in quality, the sheer range of subjects is startling ... shows a writer intent on tackling each object of scrutiny with an unsentimental eye, not seeking to come to conclusions, but to sit with the problems that may emerge.
PositiveLos Angeles Review of BooksThe writer, essayist, and professor Brian Dillon is a superb reader of sentences ... Dillon demonstrates that reading out of love, lingering over cherished sentences, can draw out an astonishing wealth of material ... Dillon also has an eye for the strange little choices others may overlook ... So often writing is presented as if it emerged from the writer fully formed, without the intervention or guidance of anyone else, but throughout the collection Dillon is attentive to the editing process ... Dillon is a great appreciator of that vexing descriptor, style, even when it is awkward or clunky, as seen in his essay on Robert Smithson ... Dillon generally seems to be drawn to ambiguities, odd word choices, confusing pairings ... This form of scrutiny exposes the strange chemical process that underscores all writing.
PositiveThe Los Angeles Review of BooksStraddling dystopian fiction, mythology, and allegory, Mackintosh has created a world in which danger and possibility live side by side ... Her prose at once dreamlike and violent, this debut novelist has produced a fiction underscored by a relentless unease ... Mackintosh depicts the terror of moving through the world in a woman’s body, with a profound but unspecific sense of dread ... Though this is undeniably bleak, Mackintosh seeks to find solace in the relationship between sisters ... the violence that infuses this text does not give way to an unadulterated pessimism. Instead, there is something that holds firm all through her writing: Mackintosh believes that there can be some escape.
PositiveLos Angeles Review of Books\"The stories in his new collection Notes from the Fog are filled with individuals thinking about what they should be doing, what emotions they should be having, or how the structures in which they live, literal or otherwise, should be functioning ... Marcus’s writing is by turns extremely funny, affecting, and then disquieting, and as he moves seamlessly between these tones, his work accrues a strange mood like so much smoke. Something hangs over the collection in the form of a shapeless threat ... Marcus produces narratives of authenticity, not to feed in to discourse of the examples I listed earlier, but to suggest it as an impossible ideal in a self-conscious society ... This writing does anything but soothe.\