RaveThe Times Literary Supplement (UK)She narrates her work, like a dressmaker with pins in her mouth chatting while she does a fitting. Sartor resarta ... [there is an] apparent ease with which she structures her nonfiction ... Atwood is conversant with a lengthy catalogue of writers, works and genres ... Her nonfiction—reviews, introductions, eulogies, appreciations and lectures—often seems to be a response to a challenge or an invitation ... [there is a] forthright way in which Atwood simultaneously states her purpose and engages her audience ... Atwood seems to have taken the most basic writing advice—say what you’re going to say, say it, say what you just said—and developed it into a highly flexible, personal art form ... Her nonfiction is not particularly nuanced—that non-outline she doesn’t make forms the exoskeleton of many a command performance—but her prescience, her wicked sense of humour, her generosity and her appetite for work are all on flamboyant display in Burning Questions.
RaveThe Times Literary Supplement (UK)... a grand fugue for organ, with all the stops pulled out. It is a gift right now, when New York City is coming back from a pandemic winter that has been the ruin of many a favourite restaurant, bar and sandwich shop, and put the lives of anyone in the performing arts on pause indefinitely. Contrary to popular reports, New York is no ghost town. In New Yorkers the city is hopping, punching, reeling, dancing, thrumming, honking, thriving ... Taylor’s presence is felt between the lines; he is as skilled a writer of literary nonfiction as I have ever read. It helps that he is Canadian: a book like this calls for an observer, a listener, a sniffer who is alien but not too alien.
MixedThe Times Literary Supplement (UK)... a deeply researched history, leavened with gossip ... History is more compelling when it’s viewed through a particular community or institution, and by using the Barbizon as a window, Bren offers a full sweep of the changing status of American women in the twentieth century ... The author strains not to let Plath run away with the book, but she does not succeed.
Eliese Colette Goldbach
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review... has elements of Tara Westover’s but Goldbach’s background is not as extreme ... Goldbach tries to express how tragic it was to see her fellow laborers — and her parents — fall for Trump’s appeal to their baser instincts, but her prose is strongest when she sticks to the steel industry.
PositiveThe New YorkerWatson, a historian and philosopher of science and a teacher of writing and the humanities—in other words, a Renaissance woman—gives us a deceptively playful-looking book that turns out to be a scholarly treatise on a sophisticated device that has contributed eloquence and mystery to Western civilization ... Watson is especially thought-provoking on the topic of semicolons and the law, where ambiguity can lead to trouble.