PositiveFull StopSerre’s language is tight and fabulist, a slim and sensuous fairy tale that reads like something born from an orgy between Charles Perrault, Shirley Jackson, and Angela Carter (hubba hubba). For the most part, the narrative voice of the novel views the governesses with bemused detachment, just like the elderly gentleman across the street who spies on them regularly through a telescope. The narrative is similarly telescopic, often projecting one perceived emotion onto all three of them, particularly their libidinous desires, with puerile pluralism ... The governesses of The Governesses are a tragedy, as they never escape the confines of their archetype, their one-ness, their cipher-dom ... They are not just robbed of agency; any glimmer of agency is categorically, mercilessly nixed.
MixedFull Stop\"Her resistance to contemporary fiction (populated with these ignorant \'young writers\' she speaks of) can’t help but tendril through her book like a delayed poison, staling the stories with a retro dew, the product of experimental boomer fiction that may not have lost its bile, but has lost its bite. Besides her political incorrectness (the triple-appropriation of \'seppuku,\' the Japanese suicide ritual by self-disembowlment which crept into mainstream America in the late 70s with the smash novel and TV show Shogun, is several shades of out-of-touch), her pessimism is ultimately unhelpful, uninsightful, and uninteresting in the contemporary landscape of fiction she so scorns. Braverman also has little concern for pace or cohesive plotting ... with uninformed and out-of-touch scorn for literature as we know it today, a literary landscape she very well may have helped inspire, it seems that Braverman’s once-experimental bite, precision, and resonance has turned bilious and loose.\