RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewCrissy Van Meter’s vivid and moving debut, is a novel powered by atmosphere ... The characters are as complex and explosive as the setting ... As Creatures unfolds, Van Meter subverts narrative expectations by making long and frequent digressions away from the compelling present, pre-wedding story line, to reveal either the past or future ... eventually this structure begins to sway under its own weight. The glimpses into the future beyond Evie’s wedding day expand the novel’s scope in interesting and unexpected ways. Yet these sections tend to emphasize certain emotional notes—fractured love, enduring loneliness, self-doubt—to the point of redundancy ... At times, inevitability begins to outstrip surprise, and feeling is more reported than animated ... In its rendering of Winter Island, though—of sea-soaked splendor and terror and rage—Van Meter’s debut is an unwavering triumph. Equally dazzling is the novel’s emotional ballast ... For all the novel’s visual description, then, it’s Van Meter’s perceptive eye for this—the unseen—that makes for a coming-of-age that’s as human as it is wild.
PositiveBook SlutThe spread of the superplague and the subsequent panic might drive the novel, but the real threat is not the deadly sickness; rather it is the spiritual death that has gripped the inhabitants of this vividly-rendered American landscape. Maazel’s characters are in agony, have been in agony their whole lives, it seems -- so long that their pain has morphed into a listless, detached, and unshakable suffering, soothed only by copious amounts of drugs ... Maazel’s prose can take some getting used to. There’s a skittishness to the writing that makes the tone seem off-kilter at times, as though certain sentences aren’t quite hitting the right key. But as the novel progresses, a powerful parallel between the disjunctive tone and the psychic disconnection of her characters emerges. Form begins to mirror content, and the powers of Maazel’s fictional world take over.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review\"... heady and elegant ... The Heavens is something of a chameleon, a strange and beautiful hybrid. Just when you think you’re standing on firm footing, the ground shifts ... Chief among the novel’s many accomplishments is the fluidity of this movement. The dual worlds and perspectives are convincingly distinct and granular, coaxed to life by Newman’s self-assured prose, which manages to be at once disciplined and sensuous ... The book is, blessedly, not about offering a diagnosis or unknotting the riddle of how Kate understands time; rather it is about illuminating the riddle itself. Revelations, often thrilling ones, abound... but no definitive answer is reached ... I woke from The Heavens as I hope to emerge from any work of fiction: moved and unsettled, a new and intoxicating set of questions alight on the mind’s horizon.\
RaveBOMBSunshine State embodies Florida's unpredictability in the best sense. The essays are structurally intricate and ultraprecise in their depictions of both the physical and human worlds. Always intimate and never insular, they span a wide range of subjects—some trace the personal roots of family histories and youth and lost friendships, while others look outward to environmental conservation, religion, and homelessness ... Why is Florida so fucked up? That's a question I've heard, in one form or another, many times over. At least a partial answer can be located in the labyrinths of systemic dysfunction that Gerard describes, though of course broken systems are hardly unique to the Sunshine State. In this way, Florida is one of the most American states in the union ... Sunshine State is utterly without sentiment or the Dave Barry wackiness so often ascribed to Florida. Instead Gerard pierces the sunshine and shows us the storm.
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewA collection is, by my lights, a chance to build a universe, an overarching ecosystem. But it’s common enough to encounter a hodgepodge instead, where flashes of brilliance are undercut by clunkers. While What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours is linked loosely by keys (and also by character — a figure in the wings of one story might take center stage in another, a structure that recalls Yoko Ogawa’s devastating 'Revenge'), the collection is even more urgently united by the author’s playful, inventive sensibility. Oyeyemi has created a universe that dazzles and wounds.