PositiveThe San Francisco Book ReviewEveryone has heard this story before, at least the broad strokes of it, and this is itself the queasy moral. The horror that Fowler renders in these pages is threaded through with an inevitability that is, perhaps, the most wrenching thing of all. A Good Neighborhood is a page-turner, but there is no joy in the turning.
RaveSan Francisco Book Review... in this collection, [Olive] reveals a new vulnerability, recognizable from the original stories but heightened now, more searing. Her nurturing side is more pronounced as she navigates the indignities, fears, and disappointments of old age. There are complicated new layers of love, resentment, and forgiveness ... The people who share Olive’s hometown of Crosby, Maine, are as lonely and conflicted as ever, and some of the most wrenching stories in this collection aren’t directly Olive’s at all ... In all of these stories, Olive is a crucial force either in person or in spirit, and readers will want to seize every second of her waning life. Olive, Again is an essential partner to Olive Kitteridge, and the emotional impact of these new stories won’t easily fade.
RaveThe San Francisco ReviewOlive Kitteridge makes no apology for who she is, and her blunt, unbending worldview will be immediately familiar to anyone who loved Strout’s Olive Kitteridge. This time, however, Olive is older, and she isn’t quite so quick to make moral judgments and swift dismissals. Olive has never been as hard as others sometimes believe her to be, but in this collection, she reveals a new vulnerability, recognizable from the original stories but heightened now, more searing.
RaveSan Francisco Book ReviewAlix Ohlin’s gorgeous prose and deeply drawn characters pull readers easily through the decades, creating an unforgettable portrait of two women who find that the bonds of sisterhood transcend even the most conflicting definitions of happiness.
RaveSan Francisco Book ReviewTold from the point of view of an aging Vivian, as she explains the highs and lows and twists and turns of her life to a woman named Angela, City of Girls creates an intoxicating portrait of New York in the 1940s, when it was a city of showgirls and theatre, when war was rumbling and then engulfing the country, when a little luck and a little real estate could turn a wayward life exactly right. The pages of Gilbert’s novel fly by, and though Vivian’s story encompasses a generous lifetime, it ends much too soon.
PositiveThe Manhattan Book ReviewThe insider’s view of the therapist/patient relationship in A Good Enough Mother is compelling and the escalating tension of the novel is rooted in the violation of professional norms that Thomas–a former therapist herself–lays out clearly. Thomas doesn’t exonerate Ruth, and the lurching emotional roller coaster here draws us into a character whose very human frailty and fallibility are all too recognizable. That recognition may be the most chilling thing of all.
RaveThe Manhattan Book ReviewThe atmosphere Cheek builds in this novel lays the groundwork for the dread that builds relentlessly from the moment the newlyweds encounter Clara and Max ... In Henry and Effie, Cheek has created a portrait of innocence, but the villains, in the end, are not the debauched New Yorkers. The capacity to ruin what is good and true resides even in the purest souls. This sexy, captivating novel is a masterfully plotted and beautifully written marital and emotional trainwreck, in the best way.