PositiveNewsday...a tender, unsentimental memoir of her adoption and the search for her Korean birthparents ... All You Can Ever Know has the patient pacing of a mystery and the philosophical heft of a skeptic’s undertaking ... [a] tango of abandonment and embrace ... Early on, Chung begins weaving a new character into the tale: her birth sister ... Telling her birth sister’s story the way a novelist or, as she is here, a biographer, might is Chung’s finest decision. These interludes provide illuminating pauses (and significant doses of fact — about her parents’ divorce, her mother’s violence) to her own.
RaveNewsdayReaders drawn to the novel hoping to learn something fresh about the New Deal power couple — or how the \'closet\' has often been a tricky notion in LGBT history — may leave unsurprised. What is unassailably deft is the way Bloom’s [Lorena] Hickok moves between her pre-Eleanor [Roosevelt] past and their post-affair present with mournful appreciation of and practical wisdom about the arc of love ... This may be Bloom’s finest act of restoration: giving Hickok — and us — a version of her authentically wrought voice. In this ongoing era of psychosexual speculation about powerful couples and their liaisons, it is this voice, with its observations about class, power, country, that feels most revelatory, most tantalizing.
MixedNewsday...readers will be forced to tussle with set ideas about race and possibility, but also about justice and the American legal system presumed to uphold it ... Weaving three first-person accounts Small Great Things is big on ambition. Which doesn’t save the setup from feeling stacked and melodramatic ... Can Ruth be the hero of her own story? Or must she be saved by Kennedy? Turns out, this is Picoult’s driving concern, too. That Small Great Things embraces this question with empathy, hope and humility is no small feat.
PositiveNewsdayThe eloquent beauty of Behold the Dreamers lies in the steady revelation of its characters’ behavior under duress. Mbue makes their most ethically compromised actions understandable ... Mbue doesn’t let her dreamers off the hook. Far from it. Nor does she ridicule their deepest hopes.
PositiveNewsday[A] startlingly imaginative and just as tender debut novel ... The novel’s structure is marvelously idiosyncratic ... Lily gives Edward so many lasting treats. Rowley has done the same. Be prepared for outright laughs and searing or silly moments of canine and human recognition.
PositiveNewsdayThis is a work of excavation but also of identification, one artist wrestling with the tumultuous life and uncanny talents of another. More stirringly, it represents the efforts of one black man to speak authentically of another black man’s tribulations, successes and faults.