PositiveThe New York Times Book Review...slim and audacious ... Written with bristling intelligence, Crudo borrows liberally from Acker, a formal tribute to a master of appropriation ... Crudo revolves around a less extreme but equally crucial disjunction: between the ordinary life of Olivia Laing in 2017 and the extraordinary life of Kathy Acker in the second half of the last century ... As a result, the novel offers an altogether smoother ride than Acker’s fiction, both in its subject matter and its prose style ... It’s fair to say that the world of Crudo is somewhat cozier than the ’70s Downtown associated with Acker. At moments, the novel pokes deadpan fun at that divide.
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewOsborne is a startlingly good observer of privilege, noting the rites and rituals of the upper classes with unerring precision and an undercurrent of malice ... Osborne takes his time baiting and setting his trap, and one of the pleasures of the novel is its unpredictability ... The novel takes on the tone of an existential noir, evoking writers like Jean-Patrick Manchette and Georges Simenon. Yet even as the narrative accelerates, the novel retains its sense of languor and style ... Beautiful Animals is unlikely to radically alter your understanding of the refugee crisis. But it may make you question the nature of your engagement with that issue and the world beyond ... Like The Great Gatsby, Beautiful Animals concludes with a rowboat on the sea and an image of light in the distance. But Osborne crafts a rebuttal of the green light that symbolizes Gatsby’s dream: 'They were like shooting stars, flaring up for a brilliant moment, lighting up the sky even for a few lingering seconds, then disappearing forever.' A world without the organizing principle of an ideal is a harder, bleaker one to inhabit. It’s a world without promises, and Osborne is one of its most dedicated chroniclers.
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewAlthough charged throughout with high emotion, the novel is rarely sentimental. Porter resists the static register of the maudlin, creating instead a fabric of constant shifts and calibrations in voice, moving from rage to madness to profanity and humor. He has an excellent ear for the flexibility of language and tone, juxtaposing colloquialisms against poetic images and metaphors. The result is a book that has the living, breathing quality of the title’s 'thing with feathers.'”