RaveThe Chicago Review of Books\"Zadie Smith’s book of newly collected essays, Feel Free, will appeal to both cullers and surrenderers alike. You can read through or skip around. The structure of the collection lends itself to this idea … While most of this collection is topical, she still is able to incorporate her own interests and influences in an organic way … Whether you’d like to read about Get Out, Brexit, or global warming, you can trust that Feel Free will bring pleasure, contention, or some combination of the two. Why cull when Zadie Smith offers the perfect opportunity to surrender?\
Karl Ove Knausgaard, Trans. by Ingvild Burkey
PositiveChicago Review of BooksWith Autumn and Winter...he has shifted his gaze from his own navel to the experiences, objects, and settings of daily life ... Not all of the essays hit the mark, and a few repeat themselves ... But the great essays excuse the trifles ... When reading these essays, I sometimes paused to ask if Knausgaard was pulling the wool over my eyes with the beauty his prose alone. But no, he doesn’t. While Knausgaard isn’t for everyone, Winter reaches at emotions and common experiences that lay dusty in all of us. Somehow, he’s distilled his trademark depth of thought and feeling into a commute-friendly series of fireside chats.
RaveThe Chicago Review of BooksCamilla Grudova’s weird, fantastical characters and settings feel like they could pop up in your own life — lurking in the alley and hiding behind the light poles and trash cans as keys are kept in the palm of a hand. Grudova’s achievement in The DolI’s Alphabet is not only that she makes the reader feel uneasy, but that each time, it blurs back to an everyday problem or social issue … The pattern is the slow recollection that one knows this story or has heard this story before, but it is the details or context that has shifted. In particular her descriptions strike a chord that is both grotesque and compelling … In many ways it defies description — the images it conjures have one foot in our world and one in the other.
RaveThe Chicago Review of BooksKraus deftly sews up the gaps with thought-provoking and context-building information throughout the text, making for a pleasurable and informative read. One might even say that Kraus’s biography formally parallels Acker’s work, which hums with intentionality and indeterminancy ... Kraus’s prose glides by without feeling rushed. By seamlessly intermingling excerpts from Acker’s novels, interviews, and correspondence into her narrative, Kraus’ style mimics how Acker’s identity and art reciprocally fed off of each other in a way that made discernment between the two difficult. In lesser hands, this archive-rich biography might have wound up a convoluted narrative. But Kraus gives us a finely ordered account of Acker’s life that still acknowledges the challenge of telling a story that draws heavily from biography and experience. It is a book brimming with moments where reality and fiction meet, the boundaries between the two often blurred ... Though at times understandably dense, After Kathy Acker is proof that Kraus is the ideal person to tell Acker’s story. This critical biography is a wonderful read for long-time fans of both Acker and Kraus, and it will likely be an engaging one even for those unfamiliar with their work, but who are interested in the development and vicissitudes of an accomplished artist’s life.