RaveThe Washington PostAnna Fifield forcefully demonstrates that the North Korean leader is far more savvy, ambitious and ruthless than his ludicrous nicknames suggest. Writing a biography of Kim is a notoriously difficult undertaking. False information abounds, and testimonies of North Korean escapees and refugees can be unreliable. To overcome these hurdles, Fifield has cross-checked a wealth of facts, relied on extensive primary and secondary sources, and engaged in old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting ... The Great Successor is a hard-earned, comprehensive portrait of Kim and his country’s uncertain future ... essential reading for anyone seeking insight on one of the world’s least-understood leaders.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewAs people descend from \'hero to murderer in an hour,\' Miracle Creek becomes a fascinating study of the malleability of truth in the courtroom. For the reader, learning the killer’s identity matters less than parsing the moral compromises each character makes to guard his or her own version of truth ... The interior life of the characters gives Miracle Creek depth ... The unique perspectives in Miracle Creek aren’t matched by an equally daring narrative style. Kim is capable of striking descriptions, but for the most part, she doesn’t take any risks. Still, Miracle Creek is a brave novel that challenges assumptions of reality.
PositiveThe Guardian...one of South Korea’s most venerated novelists urgently examines the darker side of modernisation through the micro-society of a rubbish dump ... The novel’s most impassioned passages depict garbage as a social phenomenon, the visible evidence of capitalism ... Familiar Things is not particularly notable for vividly rendered detail, singular language or voice. But the measure of a novel is not only its artful telling, but also the power and value of the story being told.
PositiveThe GuardianDespite the grim circumstances, In the Shadow of the Banyan yokes the beauty of the lush terrain and farmland with haphazard cruelty and violence. The chapters are enlivened by the poems that Raami's father writes and recites, and myths and folk tales that live on in Raami's memory ... Historical breadth and a narrative momentum are the novel's greatest strengths. Vaddey Ratner traces the reign of the Khmer Rouge to its demise in a mere 315 pages, narrating the manifold tragedies that took place... is a compelling saga of a country during a troubled time little understood in the west, but it also shares similar weaknesses ... Ratner is a fearless writer, and the novel explores important themes such as power, the relationship between love and guilt, and class.
Min Jin Lee
RaveThe New York Times Book Review...[a] stunning novel ... Like most memorable novels, Pachinko resists summary. In this sprawling book, history itself is a character. Pachinko is about outsiders, minorities and the politically disenfranchised. But it is so much more besides ... Despite the compelling sweep of time and history, it is the characters and their tumultuous lives that propel the narrative. Small details subtly reveal the characters’ secret selves and build to powerful moments ... The numerous shifts are occasionally jolting, but what is gained is a compassionate, clear gaze at the chaotic landscape of life itself. In this haunting epic tale, no one story seems too minor to be briefly illuminated.