RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewDeceptively simple ... What follows could be read as an entertaining series of misguided shenanigans interrupting the upper class’s summer vacation, but under Cline’s command, every sentence as sharp as a scalpel, a woman toeing the line between welcome and unwelcome guest becomes a fully destabilizing force. And not just for her hosts, but for the novel itself ... Cline’s old-fashioned prose style at times had me in a shimmering state of déjà vu, bringing to mind the nimbleness and nuance of John Cheever, who also captured the rot beneath wealthy suburbia ... More novels should probe the stakes of female performance.
Samanta Schweblin, trans. by Megan McDowell
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewTakes aim at the place we feel safest: home. Darker and more tinged with terror than her breakthrough novel, Fever Dream, this is Schweblin at her sharpest and most ferocious ... Arranged as peepholes into the private lives of others, each of these seven stories centers on a domestic dwelling, exploring how the things that constitute our most intimate spaces are relational and interconnected, and therefore in many ways the most unstable. There are absences on many levels ... Schweblin is never explicit. Any implied creepiness is a product of the reader’s own imagination ... Scarier than any fall horror movie...is the knowledge that the various assemblages of our lives are merely delicate scaffolding, liable to come crashing down at any moment.
PositiveThe Los Angeles Review of BooksSex and Rage has everything 1979 readers had come to expect from Babitz — art parties in the canyons or near the beach; rocks stars mingling with peasants; cocaine and Quaaludes, brandy and acid trips — richly described if redundant of her earlier work. Some moments in the novel are so self-aggrandizing that they make the reader squirm, such as when Jacaranda is invited to party at the elegant and unobtainable Max Winterbourne’s penthouse ... Sex and Rage reveals a more self-conscious Eve Babitz. As Jacaranda spirals on an alcohol bender, Babitz writes, 'The more someone liked her writing, the fewer clothes she felt she had on' ... Babitz’s iconic status is why Jacaranda is such a fascinating character. She signals Babitz’s fear of time passing, of being an almost former it-girl.