RaveThe New York Times Book Review... an impeccably researched and deeply incisive account of Hazzard’s life and work, and the intriguing interplay between the two ... Olubas is not in the business of hagiography. She is in pursuit of the truth. She tells it straight and we trust her ... Her letters and diaries, and the biography itself, become a long list of writers and artists whom they saw in New York, Paris, London, Rome, Naples or Capri. For the reader, the onslaught is exhausting, even if it does mean hanging with Robert Penn Warren or Elizabeth Bowen or Saul Bellow. Hazzard’s diary entries during this time, Olubas writes, reveal the seriousness with which she approached these social occasions and her effort to learn how to carry herself in these circles ... Hazzard’s own books arrive in this biography whole and as mysteriously as immaculate conceptions, without a sense of having been wrestled into creation. The writer in A Writing Life is elusive. Olubas acknowledges that apart from occasional complaints about not finding time to work, Hazzard said little about her experience of writing.
RaveThe Washington Post...[a] superb and masterful new novel ... despite their vows, these women are as flawed and carnal as any of McDermott’s other brilliantly hewn characters ... There are so many ways to read this beautiful novel: as a Greek tragedy with its narrative chorus and the sins of the fathers; as a Faulknerian tale out to prove once more that the 'past is not even past'; as a gothic tale wrestling with faith, punishment and redemption à la Flannery O’Connor; or as an Irish novel in the tradition of Anne Enright and Colm Tóibín, whose sentences, like hers, burn on the page. But The Ninth Hour is also a love story, told at a languid, desultory pace and fulfilled most satisfyingly at the end.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewMoshfegh writes beautiful sentences. One after the other they unwind — playful, shocking, wise, morbid, witty, searingly sharp. The beginning of this novel is so impressive, so controlled yet whimsical, fresh and thrilling, you feel she can do anything. You wouldn’t care if nothing much ever happened, if it all weren’t leading up to a crime. But it is ... Rebecca and her motivations, once we learn them, feel pasted in from another book. They do not square with the universe Moshfegh so meticulously created in the first part of the novel. We want Rebecca to be as twisted and interesting as Eileen, as tortured and menacing as her father.
RaveThe Washington PostIt is both a book of withholdings and a book of great openness and wisdom. It starts with the clean, solid structure and narrative distance of a fairy tale yet becomes more intimate and improvisational ... Strout is playing with form here, with ways to get at a story, yet nothing is tentative or haphazard. She is in supreme and magnificent command of this novel at all times.