PositiveThe Washington Independent Review of BooksLyons knows how to trepan the genres and extract something weird and messy. Depending on your taste in such matters, you might be thrilled and/or horrified as the novel builds to its unbelievably gory climax. Or you might find yourself wondering if it’s simply high-class schlock: well fashioned but ultimately a black and endless hole ... an iron stomach and a willing suspension of disbelief are prerequisites — for both the characters and the reader — on this journey. The things one puts up with for one’s sibling ... Perhaps the most entertaining aspect of A Black and Endless Sky is the narrative voice Lyons uses ... That’s the kind of bravura, over-the-top writing that gives this profane, weird, credulity-stretching novel its charm. But you have to enjoy this hyper-masculine mix of style and plot to make it to the end of the long, strange trip. And the forgoing violence along the journey is nothing compared to the hell of its ending. Reader, I finished it.
RaveThe Washington PostSure, Byrne shares a few Hollywood tidbits...But Byrne, who turned 70 last year, has written something more introspective and literary: an elegiac memoir that explores the interior life of a Dublin boy who finds himself almost accidentally — and incidentally — famous. It’s a story about Ireland and exile and carrying the ghosts of family and home through time ... That passage is one of many that show the mark of a real writer, a born storyteller with a poet’s ear. Walking with Ghosts dazzles with unflinching honesty, as it celebrates the exuberance of being alive to the world despite living through pain. His portrait of an artist as a young boy is steeped in nostalgia of the best sort, re-creating the pull of home. In her poem Nostos, Louise Glück writes \'We see the world once, in childhood/The rest is memory.\' Somehow Byrne has created that onceness for us ... With this tender book — full of warm and often funny stories — Byrne shows us the depth of his true character.
RaveThe Washington Independent Review of BooksEach of the characters is fully rounded and, at turns, funny and warm, forgetful and deeply wounded. The frenetic chaos of the single mother and problem child are counterpointed with the elegiac tone of the couple in old age ... [McCorkle] lets the story unspool slowly and in great accreting detail ... This trope of hidden identities and family secrets gives the story its bumps and jolts. For all its easygoing pace, the plot has moments as brutal as the accidents that take the parents’ lives and as touching as the scene, late in the novel, when the truth spills out unexpectedly for everyone, including this reader ... The real joy of Hieroglyphics is its intricacy, the pieces of four stories assembled into a mosaic of love and pain and redemption. Whether in Lil’s first-person epistolary account or the others’ accounts in third person, the plain and elegant style pulls the reader through its shifts and counterpoints. You emerge bedazzled, blinking in the bright sunlight of now and carrying the shards of their experiences in your heart.
RaveThe Washington Post...masterful ... Perry has done more than take parts from the Gothic corpus to stitch together some fiend. She has introduced a wholly new creature, a monster suited to our age ... [a] sophisticated and delightful Gothic contraption. It is scary and smart, working as a horror story but also a philosophical inquiry into the nature of will and love ... And the ending will sap your bones.
PositiveThe Washington Post...Grossman brings a nerd’s depth of arcane knowledge and obsessive confidence to this ambition. He draws on some of the tropes and conceits of the classics of the genre, from The Chronicles of Narnia to the Harry Potter story, melding them into a modern psychological novel to create something entirely new ... After some slow going at the start of the story, the plot widens to involve saving not only Fillory but magic itself ... The Magician King is a dark and disturbing book on many levels ... Grossman’s third-person narration closely echoes the inner lives of his characters, but after a while, the constant swearing empties the language as readily as a cliche.
MixedThe Washington Post...this espionage action story will no doubt tighten her grip on her devoted readers ... The plot zips from Texas to Florida and back to D.C. and features all of the expected motifs of the genre ... Along the way there are some wonderful touches ... Other matters further challenge credulity. The melodramatic plot depends upon well-worn devices such as a pair of twins whose bodies mirror each other. The writing and bantering dialogue never fully escape a cataclysm of cliches. But one does not read Meyer for her style. Her appeal is emotional rather than aesthetic, and she knows how to control dramatic tension as skillfully as any of the Bourne movies. The pages turn themselves.
RaveThe Washington Post...maddening, funny, playful ... The Cauliflower reworks the contours of the historical novel into a surprisingly luminous work of art ... The Cauliflower is a brilliant and suitably playful way to ask these questions of gods and saints, not often addressed these days in the modern novel.