PositiveThe Austin ChronicleA book sunk in mystery, Great House is like a nesting egg that skips generations, with some riddles never to be solved, much as the narrators' efforts to crack the codes of their inscrutable loved ones almost always end in failure. Krauss charts the life cycle of love in alternating chapters – new love, lost love, and lovelessness. In the last, in which the long-single New York writer makes a pilgrimage to Israel to reclaim the desk, Krauss presents a brutalizing portrait of a middle-aged woman reawakening to desire to disastrous effect. It's the least pleasurable chapter but also the most potent in a book that is both challenging and – in its very best stretches – ravishing, too.
RaveThe Austin ChronicleEli narrates DeWitt's black-comic picaresque, chronicling with an eye askant his and his brother's journey to San Francisco, where they're meant to murder a man on the order of their boss, an Old West despot known only as the Commodore. Rendered theatrically in three acts with two intermissions and an epilogue, The Sisters Brothers co-stars a sideshow of eccentrics – including a crone prone to cursing, a sniveling orphan, a failed dentist, drunken whores, and prospectors turned mad with gold-lust – and the action is at once graphic and thrilling. But it's the startlement of Eli's observations, and the musicality of his voice, that make The Sisters Brothers such a twisted delight.