RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewSplendidly thought-provoking stories ... Brinkley pierces the superficial and obvious — that what meets the eye is all there is to see — by displaying a more nuanced portrait of how we perceive and are perceived ... Stylistically, the beginnings of these stories are akin to being thrust into a moving current — Brinkley doesn’t waste time on unnecessary setup or trivial fluff. His smooth prose rips and slips down the page, getting right to the point ... Brinkley is a writer whose versatility knows no boundaries. He can make you laugh, cry, contemplate life’s deepest questions, remember what it was like to be a child, and feel the warmth, or chill, of your own family history. Tapping into the sticky stuff of humanity, each story is a gift of the highest quality, reminding us that we are all both in the audience and on life’s stage, even if we don’t know it.
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewWhat Boyd does so well is communicate the stifling, breathtaking reality of what it means to exist in a world that treats you like an extraterrestrial ... Julian’s heightened sense of awareness, one of the novel’s most endearing traits, leaves room for genuine humor ... The Weight presents the engrossing portrait of a man in a bizarre place, at a bizarre time, doing what he can to live with the extraordinary load he carries in his heart and the sheer mass imposed upon his mind.
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewYou’d have to visit Cirque du Soleil to see someone juggle as much as Han with such effortless dexterity and tenderness. Generational trauma, the American dream, the consequences of conquest. And his prose is rhythmic and hypnotic; it captivates from the very first page and gracefully conveys the loss and the longing the family experiences. Coupled with this are frequent, butter-smooth shifts in perspective, allowing us to occupy a multitude of hearts and minds with such intimacy as to feel almost intrusive ... The quiet beauty of Han’s work is also contained in his characters — the Chos and their relatives, naturalized and native Hawaiians. Han’s characters are entirely familiar — even if you’ve never traveled to Hawaii or South Korea, tasted mandoo or loco moco, or spoken pidgin or Korean — and you want them to succeed and find peace, together. It’s hard to read Nuclear Family and not be inspired to mend torn relationships. To listen. To speak. Because this is a novel about how pain can be wrought from silence. The echoes of what we don’t say can reverberate loudly ... History, too, is ever-present in the novel; it’s practically another character full of blood, guts and violence...While Han’s characters articulate their frustrations with crushing accuracy, sometimes it feels as though it is Han himself speaking to us, rather than his characters, but this never strays into the realm of distracting preachiness ... Han never ceases to surprise. Once you get used to his prose, he breaks form, redacting paragraphs, building towers out of words only to topple them pages later. And his comedic timing is always punctual, full of cackle-inducing humor when we need it most ... illustrates that if we’re lucky, on the other side of calamity is family, which is not an abstract noun tossed from one generation to another, but a verb defined by the action, motion and work required to survive anything, even fallout.
RaveThe New York Times... both hilarious and harrowing. In nine unique stories, Stuck employs tenderness, humor and refreshing spontaneity to transform the everyday multiplicities of the Black experience into the extraordinary, showcasing truths that are common knowledge for many Black Americans and uncomfortable revelations for others ... To write a story like this demands courage, but to pull it off requires skill — both of which are abundant in Stuck’s work ... Whether he’s writing about a white man persuading a young Black man to be his wife’s lover or a Black Republican with vitiligo who goes on a cruise for \'unseen souls\', Stuck’s examination of Blackness panders to no one. His stories read as an authentic expression of his own viewpoint, which doesn’t perceive Black people as bodies whose only purpose is to orbit around racism, but as individuals who deserve to live for the sake of living ... Stuck brings nuance and empathy to each page, letting you know that he, like his characters, is traveling inward to find answers to questions of existence, rather than consulting some fictitious Encyclopedia Blacktannica ... This is a collection full of movement, of intelligent people traveling to new places or returning to old ones, leading to discoveries about themselves, about family and about the places they call home. Chris Stuck is a writer who has spent much time pondering the human condition, and we are the beneficiaries of his labor.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review[Gordo] gives the reader an unobstructed view into the lives of those who are often relegated to statistics and political talking points: people who come to the States for a better life for themselves and their offspring ... we enter Cortez’s world, where there is an irresistible mix of childlike desire, piercing observation and ridiculous, but relatable, shenanigans, including wrestling matches and the plundering of a porn collection, along with more serious matters ... the strength of Cortez’s work is that he lays out these stories without defining his characters by their worst actions, showing us people who are closer to reflections of ourselves than we think, even if they do not look like us, or come from the places we call home. And this is the book’s superpower: the cultivation of empathy.