RaveNew York Review of BooksAs in a negative-space drawing, the trilogy’s narrator—a writer named Faye (otherworldly as in fey; defiant as in fie)—is a silhouette, rapt and wrapped, her form determined by the purposeful chat of others, which hovers, adheres, and sculpts. She is the prompt and master of ceremonies for other narrators ... That Cusk has constructed her novels in this radical manner seems both perverse and inventive and has caught the attention of many other writers. Despite comparisons, her work is not the autofiction of Karl Ove Knausgaard and Sheila Heti, whose own voices and personalities cram their pages; nor is it the meditative flâneurie of W.G. Sebald or Teju Cole; it is something more peculiar and thrilling and Cusk’s own ... The concentrated, flinty nature of Cusk’s mind (a fellow admirer and I often refer to her, in pseudo-jazz-intimacy, simply as \'Rachel,\' though we have never met her and haven’t the flimsiest intention of trying to do so) ensures that authorial intelligence is burned into the syntax of every line ... What runs through her trilogy is a coolly abstracted consciousness organizing all the stories ... It is like reading the best kind of philosophy—steely, searching, brisk.
RaveThe New York Review of BooksIn her new collection, Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage, showing that the impulse toward love, if not love itself, dies hard, she follows her characters’ erotic lives straight through the chemotherapy ward, into the nursing home, on into the funeral parlor … There is not one of her stories in this new book that does not put together characters with real if subtle class divisions between them. This Munro does with a neutral, unsentimental eye and limber sympathies … Because she tends toward the long story, and writes with a long view of life as well, time is both her subject and her medium, its mysteries and flukes both pondered and employed. Her narratives leap and U-turn through time, and the actual subject and emotion of a story may be deferred in such gymnastic travel, or may be multiple or latent.
RaveThe AtlanticThere are no happy endings here, but neither are these tales tragedies. They are constructions of calm perplexity, coolly observed human mysteries. One can feel the suspense, poolside, as well as any reader of The Da Vinci Code; one can cast a quick eye toward one's nine-year-old on the high dive and get back to the exact sentence where one left off. The thrilling unexpectedness of real life, which Munro rightly insists on, will in her hands keep a reader glued—even if that reader is torn by the very conflicts dramatized therein … The story for the ages here, however, is surely the title one, with its multiple runaways, its ghostly gothic moments, and its exploration of erotic love—all narrative ingredients Munro has made her own.
RaveThe New YorkerIf one is looking for a powerful through-line of suspense and drama, one will not find it in this book: instead, one must take a more scenic and meditative trip. There are novels that are contraptions, configured like cages, traps, or flypaper, to catch things and hold them. Canada is more contrary: searching and spliced open and self-interrupted by its short slicing chapters, then carried along again by a stream of brooding from a son and brother with a hundred questions and only a few answers … Ford’s language is of the cracked, open spaces and their corresponding places within. A certain musicality and alertness is required of the reader; one has to hear it instinctively and rhythmically.
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review...The Human Stain, loosely belongs to a trio that includes these last two novels. They have many things in common: a nostalgia for old Newark; a handsome hero-fool; the handsome hero-fool's tell-it-like-it-is brother; and the presence of Nathan Zuckerman, Roth's literary doppelgänger, who is observer, bit player and imaginary channeler of all three novels ...its particular hero-fool is arguably the most socially intriguing character to whom Roth has ever devoted himself ... Roth has given us a man struggling with a truly independent way of being Jewish: pretending to be Jewish ... fails to extend understanding toward — and only makes fun of — the possible discomfort of minorities or women in settings ... Alone, prostateless, now outside the sexual fray, Zuckerman has become a melancholic poet of twilight and chagrin; the combination of perspicacity and weary tranquillity becomes him as a narrator ...an astonishing, uneven and often very beautiful book.
PositiveThe New York Review of Books...Hirshey’s book—once it gets past its bitter complaint about the Hearst Corporation’s virtual gag order on quoting Brown’s office memoranda—is a bit more like a novel in its attention to narrative tension and pacing and smooth writing. Moreoever, Hirshey cleverly transforms her final pages into something akin to an oral history, with several of Brown’s good friends—from the playwright Eve Ensler to Barbara Walters—chiming in.