RaveThe New York Times Book Review... astute and distressing ... Waclawiak accomplishes a brilliant feat here, creating an atmosphere of almost palpable, effortful dullness that presides over the entire novel. With so much opportunity for raw emotion, the author seems to avoid it at all cost, going for exceptional clarity instead. In the absence of any real emotional attachment to the characters, the reader is forced instead to engage intellectually, to actually face the tough questions about our own inevitable death ... so little effort is put into helping patients accept their eventual death, effectively encouraging them to ignore mortality. Waclawiak’s Life Events provides a powerful argument against that attitude. The novel offers you a hand, gently helping you pull your head out of the sand to accept the inevitable.
PositiveThe Los Angeles Review of Books[A] subtle and deeply intelligent novel ... Monsieur Ka refuses to be an homage to Anna Karenina. Instead, it tries to reimagine the characters of Tolstoy’s novel as real people who could have been its prototypes ... The premise is simple and intensely engaging ... [a] delightful literary tangle ... Still, the richest and the most wonderful aspect of Monsieur Ka is not its literary gaming but rather its incessant attempts to make the reader question reality. All these fictional, factual, defictionalized, refictionalized layers allow Monsieur Ka to capture that elusive feeling every serious reader has experienced at some point: what if our lives are less real and not more real than the lives of literary characters? ... This question stays with you long after you put down Monsieur Ka.
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review...a biting and astute debut ... I reminded myself that this was not a sexual harassment quiz but a satirical novel, so I definitely didn’t have an obligation to pick the right answer, or side with any of the characters. This revelation freed me to savor many delights of Startup.
MixedThe New York Times Book ReviewSome of these stories are meant to be familiar to a Russian reader, and in fact many are based on real events, just as many of the characters are based on real people. Some are thinly veiled historical figures, others are more thickly camouflaged; others are purely fictional. All of this creates an eerie landscape, as if the dead were walking among the living.