PositiveNew York Journal of Books... characteristic grace ... McCorkle is an insightful, skillful writer and these characters have led complex lives. She takes her time and lets them unpack their baggage slowly, a piece at a time. So when McCorkle suddenly speeds to and through the finish, with Jason—our least known character—making and revealing a major discovery, along with Lil’s revelations and what some may consider the quick end of the novel, is McCorkle suggesting that this is what happens with our lives? We think we’ll have time to make decisions, to work something out, but then, surprise! it’s over and we’re gone.
PositiveNew York Journal of BooksCasey is a near-prototype of a post-graduate with agonizing questions radiating out from the dream of being a writer ... In the midst of Casey’s long, difficult struggle, through which she does persevere, there may also be an element of self-indulgence that comes of being highly educated: the notion that if one can put up with the pain and considerable complexity, one can wait it out and keep trying different avenues until one finds the right way to one’s own home. The best readership for this novel may be those most fascinated by the real or imagined lives of artists, a journey that King has portrayed effectively and compassionately with well-crafted prose, evocative descriptions, and spot-on dialogue.
RaveNew York Journal of BooksNone of this emerges in sequence, but in a nonlinear narrative structure. We are brought to it slowly, much as memories, insights, and regrets arise in the alternate fog and sudden clarity of daily life ... beautifully crafted, unusually structured novel about the inescapability of memory, the tragic scars left by trauma and abuse, and the abuse of power ... Characters are distinct and vividly drawn as the novel examines the response of individuals and the Catholic church to moral and ethical dilemma. The prose is lyrical, and descriptions are brilliantly evocative of place and atmosphere. This is a novel to read closely, think about, and read again; it’s that good.
RaveThe New York Journal of Books... [Anshaw] has again demonstrated her prodigious capacity for emotionally complex characters drawn with economical, point-on diction replete with wry humor, wrenching pain, and utter loveliness ... In this exquisitely written, psychologically sophisticated novel, rich in insight and sensitivity to human vulnerability, Anshaw suggests that shared tragedies do not necessarily draw human beings closer.
RaveThe New York Journal of Books...excruciatingly honest and exceptionally brave. It requires honesty and courage of an author, as well as writing chops, to give readers a sympathetic and credible character who is a white separatist and to put that character squarely in the context of a comprehensible life—judged, unforgiven, forgiven, unlovable yet loved in the eyes of his conflicted stepson, himself a sympathetic and credible character in a beautifully rendered coming of age story ... The work is also stylistically brilliant, fast-paced, and well-told in punchy, deceptively short sentences with verbs that pop them to life nestled in chapters of two and three pages each. A master of voice in the diction of a bright adolescent football player, Zentner not only captures but nails his first-person narrator, Jessup, and creates reader empathy quickly. There are paragraphs, too, of simply gorgeous writing ... One might well wish that Zentner had dared to end the story without the epilogue. He was, perhaps, too much in need of assuring his readers of a certain ultimate outcome. In fact, he’d done enough. He’d done more than enough. Bravo!
MixedNew York Journal of Books\"... Freudenberger set out to show that a novel can ambitiously grapple with enormous and elusive ideas while delving into subtle and nuanced human exchanges like, say, the ambivalent feelings between friends or between between parents and children, which Freudenberger brilliantly captures in dialogue. The novel is replete with pages of explanation of quantum physics that may have some readers who are not well versed in that branch of science either skimming or experiencing some eye-glaze ... We’re meant to see the richly detailed family forces that shaped Charlie, who is black, and Helen, who is white, as they interacted with issues of gender, race and class in this novel’s ambitious look at the gravitational forces Freudenberer’s characters exert on one another.\