RaveLambda Literary... beguiling ... a science fiction story, a gay romance, and a Hardy Boys mystery all rolled into one. It’s many more things, too, partly because the ultimate moral dilemma of its teenaged protagonist lifts the book above any specific genre. But at its core, Wolff’s book does what all good novels do: It makes an unfamiliar world feel familiar. It moves us with beautifully limned characters. It takes us on a wild ride of twists and turns that place us in the past, present and the future ... The personal stories of Conrad and RJ encourage us to consider the ethical side of medicine we struggle with today ... Wolff consistently grounds the book in the science of the boys’ quest ... For those whose interest in science is limited to the broad strokes of political discourse (climate change, genetic research), these descriptions may seem to bog the story down somewhat, but they’re essential to give credibility to Wolff’s fantastical plot ... Perhaps what’s most impressive about the novel is that most of the time it is able to address these lofty issues without losing its ability to entertain ... might be a nice palliative for those grieving the end of The Big Bang Theory, or for those who simply appreciate good writing.
PositiveLambda LiteraryExcept for an occasional lack of clarity in shifting time as well as one or two heavy-handed references to the painting, Winman’s novel holds up remarkably well. Her precise yet often restrained prose keeps the novel clear and focused on the story ... Given Tin Man’s themes–the intensity of boyhood friendships, the shifting dynamics among three people who love each other, the AIDS crisis–it’s inevitable that comparisons will be drawn to Michael Cunningham’s A Home at the End of the World. Yet Rose Tremain’s more recent The Gustav Sonata might be a better reference point. That novel (of similar length) also follows the friendship of two boys throughout decades with music, rather than painting, a recurring motif. More importantly, however, both authors convincingly depict the complexities of love that can’t be easily labeled. In that, they both are a rare find.
PositiveLambda LiteraryWhile you certainly don’t need to know Maupin’s previous work to appreciate Logical Family, having familiarity with the Tales of the City books does enrich the reading of the memoir, since he does let us in on what inspired some characters and events in the novels ... Politically and socially, Maupin’s memoir takes us full circle–or perhaps worse. Although the writer himself is no longer the young man who rallied against socialists and peacenicks, with the election of Donald Trump, much of the country seems eerily like the Maupin’s childhood South.