RaveThe Star TribuneHow the accident happens (vividly detailed and choreographed by Shapiro) and how it is handled (never to be spoken of again) will haunt the survivors, and those pulled into the accident\'s orbit, for the rest of the book ... She is obviously interested in what people fail to say in Signal Fires, but the novel explores so much more — big picture stuff, like time and how it\'s experienced ... The author is adept, however, at juxtaposing the magical (not magical realism) and the modern, showing how locations can be the same and not the same, and that a place can be right for some and not for others but that life can still turn out all right ... Shapiro goes deep in but it pays off. Her crisp prose propels the reader onward: I wanted to know what was going to happen to the characters and I was simultaneously fascinated by the metaphysics. It\'s definitely a novel worth your time — whatever your sense of that is.
William Kent Krueger
PositiveThe Star TribuneKrueger wastes no time plunging into the action, using present tense to maintain immediacy and ratcheting up the tension through interspersed points of view in short, taut chapters ... Krueger has exhibited a mastery and control that can\'t be denied.
RaveStar TribuneIt\'s 1989 and they\'ve planned all winter for this, their \'summer of glory\'...Redbone is the mastermind behind crop circle design; Calvert is the reconnaissance man...He makes forays into the countryside to find the perfect location, one that provides cover as the two of them tramp through the fields and a viewing spot from which to see their handiwork...The Perfect Golden Circle has much to say about art, but it also has an allegorical feel...An elderly woman Calvert and Redbone meet one dark night in a field and then help search for her lost dog has overtones of Queen Elizabeth II...A drunk aristocrat, described as having a face \'like that of a child\'s drawing — two eyes, a nose and a mouth drawn onto a pink balloon,\' mistakes Redbone as the estate\'s gamekeeper, emphasizing the incompetency of the nobility...And the unwashed masses are represented by the people who illegally dump garbage in fields or those who come to look at the crop circles and damage the crop...So the novel is political, too, but its success rides on the backs of Redbone and Calvert...They are as mysterious — to themselves and to each other, at times — as the crop circles are to the public, but their oddball friendship and wide-ranging conversations slowly reveal who they are, much like the designs they flatten into fields...They can\'t be appreciated until seen in their entirety.
RaveThe Star Tribune... detail, along with plenty of self-deprecating humor...makes Klam\'s \'true story of a family fiction\' so relatable and such an enjoyable read ... an engrossing search for truth and how learning that truth might affect identity, a crucial aspect for Klam and one she touches on over and over again ... a serious quest, but Klam\'s touch is light ... Some truly astonishing discoveries about the sisters await the reader, but the book flirts with the possibility of disappointment, that the lack of information and \"brick walls\" that Klam runs into will translate into a book that just peters out, leaving these fascinating people lost to history. As the conclusion nears, regret is palpable. Instead, a wave of good fortune saves the day ... Klam might not have gotten the moon, but she did capture the stars.
Shawna Kay Rodenberg
PositiveThe Star TribuneRodenberg doesn\'t keep to her own story. She intersperses third-person accounts of her mother\'s life in Kentucky and her father\'s before he went to Vietnam, including pages—perhaps too many—of letters he wrote to his parents while he was stationed there. The change in perspective is jarring, heightening the surreal aspects of the book and emphasizing its Southern gothic aesthetic. Ultimately, though, the alternating chapters provide context and feed Rodenberg\'s overarching theme about how stories repeat in families ... Kin begs comparison to Tara Westover\'s 2018 memoir, Educated. Westover\'s work is much more optimistic, however ... Even though Rodenberg strives for a tidy ending for herself, obstacles keep popping up. And why shouldn\'t they? Life isn\'t neat, and she leans into that, digging deep with dense but readable prose and providing compelling insights.